Thousands of Iowa residents work in dangerous conditions. In many of these hazardous work environments, death is a real possibility. Even though these dangers are well-known, no employee really expects to be killed while at work. Fortunately, when a worker loses his or her life in a workplace accident, surviving family members are typically entitled to get workers’ compensation survivors’ benefits.
Recently in another state, two plant workers lost their lives due to on-the-job hazards, prompting an investigation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to reports, the workers were conducting regular maintenance tasks at the chemical plant that required a nitrogen purge and venting of toxic fluorocarbons and other hazardous chemicals. Reportedly, the victims did not have the proper respiratory protection and were exposed to dangerous levels of toxins. Tragically, the two employees were treated for respiratory failure at local medical centers and later died.
The ensuing investigation by OSHA revealed that the employer failed to protect the workers’ safety and did not provide the appropriate respiratory protection or other personal protective equipment. Investigation reports also said that the employer failed to monitor the air to determine chemical exposure levels. OSHA cited the company for nine serious violations, and they face over $230,000 in proposed penalties.
Although nothing can replace a dear loved one, family members could be entitled to survivors’ benefits. Whenever a worker in Iowa loses his or her life while on the job, surviving spouses or other close relatives may want to consider contacting an attorney who is knowledgeable in workers’ compensation matters. An experienced legal representative can provide much-needed guidance and help victims and families obtain the maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits possible.