The number of industrial accidents and deaths this year has prompted the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, or DLI, to issue a number of worker safety warnings. In the past three months alone, the DLI has issued safety warning bulletins on the fatal collapse of bulk materials storage walls, farm machinery accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning in indoor work places, crane safety around electrical lines, and the potential for sawdust explosions in sawmills.
Although the number of industrial accidents in the State of Washington has been on the decline in recent years, there have already been 31 fatal industrial accidents so far this year. Last year, 51 people lost their lives as a result of industrial accidents in the state and hundreds more were injured.
State Agency Focuses on Worker Safety
The DLI is a state agency that focuses on safety, health and security for workers who are employed throughout the State of Washington. In many ways, DLI is similar to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. Among its duties, DLI offers training programs to help employers satisfy safety requirements for their workplace. In addition, DLI is responsible for investigating claims of workplace hazards or accidents as well as administering the state’s workers’ compensation system for injured workers. Like OSHA, Washington State’s LDI develops and enforces rules relating to workplace safety and conducts scheduled and surprise inspections to ensure compliance with those rules.
The recent warnings issued by Washington State’s LDI are in response to a series of serious, or potentially serious, workplace or work-related accidents across the state, including the following:
- A total of six incidences of cranes that have touched power lines in the past six months. A construction foreman was electrocuted in June when a crane touched an electrical power line.
- Three Yakima area fatalities that were the result of two tractor-trailer accidents and one forklift accident.
- A fatal accident in June when the blades of a helicopter touched a power line while the pilot was trying to fan dry fruit trees in an East Wenatchee orchard.
- Eleven injuries attributable to carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of three separate incidences in recent months. One fatality occurred last May in King County.
- Two incidents in which storage walls made of interlocking concrete collapsed. One worker was fatally injured.
- Two separate sawmill explosions in British Columbia this year that killed four men and injured 41 others. According to the DLI, beetle-infested timber may be to blame for the explosions.
A Washington State Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Dangers in the workplace can be a hazard to both workers and bystanders. Most workplace accidents are the result of someone’s negligence. While many workplace injuries fall under the purview of the workers’ compensation system, not all do.
The specific facts and circumstances of an accident will determine a victim’s legal options. If you were injured in the Yakima Valley area, the best way to determine your legal options is to consult an experienced Yakima Valley personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you have been injured in an industrial or workplace accident or have lost a loved one as a result of a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss. If someone’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident, they should be held responsible. The Washington State workplace accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.