Virginia court makes major ruling for workers’ comp, COVID-19
- The Court of Appeals of Virginia held a wrongful death suit, alleging that workplace conditions caused a grocery store employee to die of COVID-19, was barred by the Workers Compensation Act.
- Workers’ comp was the exclusive remedy for the claim, the circuit court said.
- Another judge rejected an appeal of the store’s all-or-nothing analysis but found that dismissal was warranted.
- Ricky Taylor was employed by Giant, a retail grocery store chain, and contracted COVID-19 which caused his death. His spouse sued for wrongful death because she claimed he contracted COVID-19 at Giant.
School employee injured by explosion
- A school employee was injured after a gas oven explosion at Hazleton Area Career Center in Pennsylvania.
- An explosion occurred in a gas convection oven in the cafeteria shortly after 9:00 a.m. at the Hazleton Area Career Center.
- A food service worker was injured, suffering minor cuts from the glass breakage, and was taken to Lehigh Valley Hazleton.
- An oven may have malfunctioned, which caused the blast, according to the local fire chief.
Dangers continue for agriculture, meat industries
- The meat and poultry industry is one of the most dangerous industries and the agricultural sector is incredibly dangerous overall, according to the DC-based nonprofit Sustainable Earth Eating.
- From 2015 to 2020, there were 573 fatalities in the sector and 62,079 agricultural workers were treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal injuries related to their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Undocumented workers who work in the industry may avoid reporting hazardous conditions over fears they could lose their jobs or be deported, according to the Economic Policy Institute which uses data from OSHA.
- The nonprofit listed a number of reasons for this high injury rate in a news release, including how meat factories work 24/7 shifts.
Texas leads nation for workers’ deaths
- Texas led the nation in workers who died of injuries suffered on the job in 2021, according to figures kept by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA.
- In addition, two of the 533 Texas workers killed in 2021 were on the job in El Paso.
- OSHA investigates nearly all private-sector workplace deaths and companies have to report deaths to the federal agency within eight hours.
- OSHA investigators work to hold companies accountable for workplace safety, but in many of the death cases assessed penalties are often reduced in negotiations with companies.