The report is that BPI of Waterloo has settled with the Iowa Division of Labor Service for $648,000 after safety violations in August 2007 caused an ammonia leak that killed one worker and left another severely injured. Elizabeth “Liza” Myers died after her escape route took her directly past the hazardous leak, while another employee Elizabeth Ott fled a different path, but still suffered inhalation injuries and post-traumatic stress.
These are all work related injuries eligible for medical coverage and wage loss under Iowa's workers' compensation laws.
The accident occurred when a company contracted by BPI, Modern Engineering and Piping, was working on the liquid ammonia refrigerant piping system and BPI plant maintenance workers tried to move ammonia through the line. Part of the line had been removed which allowed the ammonia to flow into the work area. The Iowa Division of Labor Services inspectors said that the line should have been locked out during the work and that they also found other safety violations. Modern Engineering and Piping was also fined and reached a settlement with Ott in civil court.
This is an interesting workers’ compensation case that may or may not have a third-party case attached. When different companies cause injury in your workplace it's probably a reason to consider a third-party case. Property managers refer to them as vendors, workers probably call them subcontractors and employers probably refer to them in both ways. When you consider that workers have no say in who comes into their place of employment while putting them at risk of injury or death it’s a good idea to hear the opinion of a lawyer to say if there should be an investigation.
That’s enough for today, but come back tomorrow to read about the law on the Injuryboard or at The Verdict blog/blawg at Lombardi Law Firm where we will discuss other work related accidents along with car-truck-semi-motorcycle accidents in Iowa. And as always if you are in an accident and need legal services we encourage you to call us sooner, rather than later.