When an employee dies on the job unexpectedly, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts an investigation into the incident. If the agency determines that the employer violated safety rules, citations and fines could be ordered. TOSHA recently cited and fined a Nissan plant here in the state in connection with a fatal job site injury that took place in Nov. 2016.
The 46-year-old employee in question was checking repairs done to a conveyor belt prior to the accident. It was at this time that the machine's 1,275-pound counterweight struck the man, which TOSHA says was not properly secured because the metal mesh used to do so was removed during the repair process and not replaced. The agency reports that if the mesh had been in place, the weight would not have struck the man. Instead, he ultimately died from a crushing blow to the head.
Official notes reveal that the plant was cited for two similar incidents in 2013 and 2015. In addition, this man's death is the third at the plan within five years. Authorities at the Nissan plant state that the implementation of further safety measures is being considered in order to protect the lives of employees, but such measures come too late for this worker.
Adding to the emotional impact of this man's loss, his surviving family members are responsible for unexpected funeral and burial expenses and are now without his income in the aftermath of this fatal job site injury. They could apply for death benefits through Tennessee's workers' compensation system to help with these financial burdens. Furthermore, a lawyer could help assess the circumstances to determine whether legal grounds exist for any third party claims for financial damages.
Source: tennessean.com, "Nissan plant cited, ordered to pay fine after employee death", Ariana Maia Sawyer, Feb. 24, 2017