Glass Plant Worker Dies after Accident In Nashville Facility
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce and the Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Administration are both investigating the death of a woman named Catherine White, of Lebanon, Tennessee, at a glass plant where she worked. Ms. White, 51, was evidently putting her head inside a machine after she started having problems with it, inadvertently activating the machine’s sensors. Ms. White suffered a head injury at the Carlex Glass America plant at 72 Centennial Blvd and subsequently died as a result.
Paramedics arrived shortly after the accident and pronounced her dead at the glass plant. Personnel from the medical examiner’s office also transported White’s body to the medical examiner’s office where it will undergo an autopsy. The results of the investigation can take up to four to six weeks. It is reported that Ms. White had been an employee of Carlex Glass for 18 years.
Federal and State Laws Governing Unsafe Work Conditions
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) requires employers to provide a safe working environment for employees. The Act is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its state branches, and applies to all employers. Additionally, many states also have their own workplace safety laws, although the federal law preempts the state laws unless a state has submitted a plan to the Secretary of Labor for approval.
Now, if the Secretary of Labor finds the plans acceptable, then the preemption issue will not stand. Currently, the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming have state-approved plans.
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1972 (“TOSHA”)
Tennessee’s worker safety law requires every employer in Tennessee to provide a working environment that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death, serious injury, or harm to employees. It also incorporates by reference federal OSHA, and requires all employers to comply with OSHA.
OSHA/TOSHA gives employees certain rights to take action to ensure that their workplace is safe. Employees may file complaints about unsafe working conditions or other violations. Workers may also refuse to work when they face imminent danger in the workplace and employers are not allowed to retaliate against them for doing so. However, refusing to work because of potentially unsafe working conditions is not a protected right.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
At Calhoun Law, PLC, we file lawsuits on behalf of our clients who have suffered personal injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, or the death of a loved one due to the negligence of someone else. Unsafe workplaces are no exception. If you or a loved one has been injured due to what you believe is an unsafe working environment, contact our law office today. Consultations are free and confidential.