Serious OSHA Violations Led to Employee Death; Employers Heavily Fined
A South Carolina company and its subcontractor have been fined for serious OSHA violations that led to the death of a contract employee.
Resolute Forest Products, and its subcontractor, were fined a total of $33,250 by the state’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health for seven violations that led to the death of Samir Storey in January of this year.
Resolute was fined $17,850 for OSHA violations, three serious and one “other than serious.” Its subcontractor Industrial Piping Inc of Pineville, NC, was fined $15,400 for four serious OSHA violations.
The companies have appealed the fines, requesting an informal hearing regarding the OSHA violations.
Samir Storey was one of several contract employees hired to clean a tank at Resolute Forest Products’ factory during a scheduled maintenance outage on January 21st and 22nd. According to Jermel Storey, Samir Storey’s cousin, who was also hired as cleaning crew, a “clear, cloudy smoke” entered the tank, which triggered emergency alarms. Storey was one of three workers cleaning the tank at the time. One worker was 3 feet from the door and climbed out, while Storey and another worker were 18 feet from the doorway. The safety attendant called for help from Resolute Forest Products, and used a hand-crank reel to hoist the second worker out of the tank. When the attendant went to pull Storey out, the line became too tight and the assembly arm broke, trapping Storey in the tank at about 14 feet from the door. The tank was flooded with hydrogen sulfide. According to OSHA reports, the level of hydrogen sulfide within the tank was 200 parts per million; the agency considers anything in excess of 100 ppm to be “immediately dangerous to life.”
Storey reportedly died within minutes of exposure to the deadly gas.
OSHA Violations and Penalties for Workplace Accidents
According to OSHA’s website, 13 people die in workplace accidents every day of the year. Additionally, tens of thousands of people die every year from diseases caught in the workplace, and nearly 4 million workers every year are seriously injured on the job.
While not all of these injuries and deaths are due to OSHA violations, it is important for the organization to thoroughly inspect all reports of injury or death, and punish those who do not take OSHA violations seriously.
The maximum penalties for OSHA violations are $7,000 for each serious violation, and $70,000 for a repeated or willful OSHA violation.
The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes OSHA Violations on Behalf of South Carolina’s Workers
OSHA violations can lead to very serious personal injury and wrongful death. The Strom Law Firm represents injured workers and their families in workplace injury lawsuits.
- Were you hurt or injured on a construction or job site?
- Did a ladder, scaffolding, or a falling object hurt you at work?
- Has an on-the-job car wreck or unsafe work environment forced you out of work or left you disabled?
- Were you injured by faulty or defective machinery or equipment on the job?
- Was your injury caused by an OSHA, building code or workplace safety code violation?
- Were you in a burn accident on the job?
- Are you worried about being fired for filing a workers comp claim?
We proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local, county, city, and state government.
If you or a loved one are the victim of a workplace accident that has led to serious personal injury or death, whether the accident was caused by OSHA violations or another source, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800