A California man has to learn to live without both his legs after an amputation injury he suffered last August. This was one of those workplace accidents that should never have happened. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently issued a statement indicating that several safety violations contributed to this tragedy.
Reportedly, two foundry workers removed a jam and cleaned a 38-foot auger conveyor. After they exited the space, one returned to retrieve a light that was left behind. In the meantime, another worker reactivated the auger screw, thinking that the two maintenance workers had safely exited the confined space. The man was trapped inside, and rescuers had to amputate both his legs to extricate him.
Cal/OSHA inspectors determined that the company did not have a regulated confined space management program in place. It also failed to follow prescribed lockout/tag-out procedures, which would have prevented the other worker from restarting the auger while somebody was inside. According to the safety agency, this foundry received citations for similar safety violations after another investigation some years ago.
California workers who suffered catastrophic injuries in workplace accidents can claim workers' compensation benefits. However, those whose injuries cause permanent total disability will be entitled to much more than the normal medical expenses and lost income coverage. An experienced workers' compensation attorney's support and guidance might help to secure maximum benefits. The compensation will depend on the severity of the disability, the age of the victim, and his or her wage level at the time of the accident. The insurers may offer vocational rehabilitation to workers who can benefit from learning skills that will accommodate their disabilities.
Source: workcompcentral.com, "Confined-Space Accident Yields $283,390 Fine", March 9, 2018