Illinois is the home of multiple major auto manufacturing facilities, including Ford in Chicago and Chrysler in Belvidere. Just as with any manufacturing operation, auto assembly facilities come with their own risks of injury and sometimes even death. Earlier this year, a crane inspector employed by an Illinois company died in a fall at Ford’s Dearborn, Mich. facility. Last year, a man died underneath a falling wall at Ford’s facility in Chicago. Whether the fault for an accident lies with contractors, subcontractors, the auto company, or someone else is a matter that varies from case to case. An experienced Illinois injury attorney can help you pinpoint who is responsible in your case and help you get justice.
Just before 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2017, a crane inspector began traversing a wooden catwalk to approach a crane that he needed to inspect. The catwalk collapsed beneath the inspector, allowing him to fall between 30 and 50 feet to a concrete floor below. The inspector was transported to a nearby hospital, but he later died as a result of his injuries.
According to reports published by CBS Detroit, other employees at the Dearborn plant “told WWJ Newsradio that the man was not wearing a safety strap when” he fell to the floor. While the accident took place in Michigan, the fatally injured worker was employed by a Chicago-area employer that provides maintenance and inspection services for overhead cranes. As recently as the summer of 2015, Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a release reminding and imploring employers to give workers “100 percent fall protection” if the worker’s job means working at heights higher than six feet.
The death of the crane inspector wasn’t the only recent one at a Ford facility. Last year, nwitimes.com reported on a concrete worker who died at the auto manufacturer’s Chicago Assembly Plant. In that case, the worker was cutting an 86-inch-by-76-inch section of wall in order to move the wall and make way for the installation of a double door. At the conclusion of the cutting, the six-inch-thick wall fell onto the worker, pinning and fatally injuring him. The incident caused another worker to suffer serious injuries while trying to free the man. The incident also led to an investigation by OSHA. The investigation focused on the subcontractor, rather than Ford itself.
NBC Chicago reported shortly after the accident that other workers had expressed concerns about the wall for years prior to the worker’s fatal accident last year. That report indicated that a Ford employee “listed thirteen complaints about the facility when he notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in late 2014,” including ones related to the condition of the wall.
In some cases, a workplace injury or death at an auto plant may create possible civil liability. A contractor company’s failure to provide its employee with proper fall protection may make that employer liable for fall-related injuries. A site owner’s failure to maintain its facility properly could trigger liability on its part if a worker’s injuries are a result of that improper maintenance and repair.
Working at an auto manufacturing facility can sometimes be dangerous work. Certain dangers can sometimes be unavoidable, but, other times, injuries happen that are preventable. If you have been injured on the job, you may have certain rights related to your injury, whether they involve workers’ compensation or a civil lawsuit. The experienced Chicago construction accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca have been helping people injured at auto plants and in other workplace incidents for many years. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
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KATZ FRIEDMAN ATTORNEYS SECURE TWO RECENT TRIAL VICTORIES FOR INJURED TEACHING PROFESSIONALS, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, July 25, 2017
INTERNATIONALLY DOMICILED UNITED AIRLINE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS SHOULD NOT FEAR FILING ILLINOIS OCCUPATIONAL INJURY CLAIMS, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Jan. 23, 2017