Massachusetts mom says son's death caused by dangerous workplace

According to the mother of a Massachusetts worker who was killed in an on-the-job accident at Sea Watch International, the man’s death likely could have been prevented. The mother is blaming the man’s employer for failing to follow appropriate safety protocols. She said that these failures created a dangerous workplace environment, which led to her son’s death. Now, the man’s five children must grow up without their father.

The 35-year-old man was fatally injured during a shucking accident that occurred on Jan. 16. While on the night shift, he was cleaning a clam-shucking machine and became entangled in the device. After an investigation, Sea Watch and a temporary work agency were fined, with citations amounting to $44,410. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation the preceded the fines discovered numerous safety violations, but according to a spokesperson for OSHA, the fines were not punishment for the loss of the victim’s life.

According to the OSHA representative, the death was preventable, and if the company had complied with safety protocols, the event never would have occurred. According to a representative from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, seafood-shucking companies often employ immigrant workers through temporary staffing agencies. The use of temp workers results in pressure being put on workers not to report unsafe conditions due to the threat of being fired or easily replaced.

The death of this Massachusetts worker due to dangerous workplace conditions is made all the more tragic due to OSHA reports that his loss could have been prevented. As this man’s family struggles emotionally and financially following his loss, they are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Such benefits may include compensation to pay for the man’s end of life expenses, financial assistance to help with lost family income and other applicable benefits.

Source: southcoasttoday.com, "New Bedford worker's death was preventable, OSHA says", Simon Rios, June 11, 2014

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