Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

OSHA fines farm for death of employee struck by lightning

Employees have a right to a safe workplace whether they are working at a construction site, in an office or elsewhere. This includes at a farm picking vegetables in Florida. Therefore, it was no surprise that Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) levied a fine of $12,934, which is the maximum, after a 53-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 12 was fatally struck by lightning last May while working in a field as a thunderstorm raged. She had worked for there for 15 years, first as a picker and then keeping count of harvest yields. According to local news reports, two others were injured from the strike as well.

The employer was deemed negligent

OSHA determined that the farm forced workers to pick vegetables in inclement weather. Despite the fact that a supervisor discussed stopping the work so employees could take cover, the decision was not made soon enough.

A local OSHA representative added that this fatal accident could have been avoided if the employer had trained management and workers about the dangers of working in the fields when there is a weather event. The employer has the option to appeal this ruling with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Attorneys can help provide protection to workers

Workers and their families may not feel like they have rights while on the job or after a serious or fatal accident. While OSHA was created to protect workers, an attorney with experience representing employees injured or killed in the workplace can also be a tremendous help to the injured and their families.

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