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Louisiana Victim's Relatives Sue After Grain Elevator Death

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A Louisiana family has filed a lawsuit against the agricultural producer whose negligence they say led to their relative's death. The family is seeking damages on top of workers' compensation in connection with the fatal accident, which occurred when an employee at a Westwego plant fell down an elevator shaft after a mechanical failure.

The man's widow is seeking compensation for medical costs in connection with the accident, along with funeral costs, loss of companionship, attorneys' fees and pain and suffering, among other civil claims.

Official reports show that the Oct. 16 accident sent the victim and another employee plummeting toward the bottom of the elevator shaft after a man-lift they were repairing failed. The man's widow alleges that he was never given proper training for working inside of the grain elevator. He died because of massive blood loss after his arm was severed. Even worse, the pair was not given personal radios, and no one knew about the accident until a cleaning crew discovered the victims.

Cargill, one of the nation's leading grain producers, is facing a variety of allegations in connection with the accident, including charges that it failed to install proper safety equipment and take reasonable care of the people on the premises. Further, workers were never given access to emergency communications devices, and specialized training was not provided for employees working in hazardous areas.

Grain elevators and their associated facilities are considered high-risk workplaces by many Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. These facilities need to be closely monitored to prevent such tragic accidents from recurring in our community. These workers were not given the tools they needed to do their work safely. How many other Louisianans are in the same situation? Victims of workplace injuries and their families have legal options when employers have not taken adequate precautions.

Source: louisianarecord.com, "Cargill sued by family of worker who died after elevator failure" Kyle Barnett, Nov. 12, 2013

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