Rhoades & Morrow

Just another PLM WordPress site



Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

Category Archives: Workplace Accidents


Fire at Delaware City Refinery Critically Injures Two Workers

On March 11, 2020, a fire was reported at the Delaware City Refining Company at the Route 9 industrial complex. Two employees were critically injured in the 1:40 p.m. fire that sent flames and black smoke into the sky surrounding the facility. Both victims were first flown to Christiana Hospital in Stanton and then taken to the Crozer Burn Center in Upland, Pennsylvania. The fire was responded to immediately and the flames were controlled quickly. The fire is still under investigation and a cause of incident is currently unknown.

Injuries at work happen frequently and can cause physical, mental and emotional harm on the injured worker. Employers must provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to those who experienced an injury in the workplace. Burns resulting from a workplace fire is covered under Workers’ Compensation. Worker’s Compensation insurance will provide the appropriate benefits to the worker. Benefits include medical compensation, missed wages, disability benefits and more depending on the injury.

If you have been injured at work, contact the dedicated Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for a free consultation. We understand how difficult this time is for you and will work hard to ensure that you receive the justice you deserve. Contact us today at 302-407-0827 or fill out our online form. We represent clients across Delaware including Wilmington, Bear, and Milford.

safety helmets hard hats

Differences Between Safety Helmets and Hard Hats

Traditionally, hard hats were allocated to construction sites to protect workers from falling objects and to protect themselves in other potential construction accidents. Safety helmets were used by bicyclists, motorcyclists, and in other sports. The lines became blurred as safety technologies advanced and newer models were replaced. Nowadays, old-fashioned hard hats are articles of the past.

The Hard Hat Makeover

The evolution of the hard hat began a century ago when shipbuilders wanted to protect their heads from falling objects. The first stage was shipbuilders covering their regular hats with tar. In later years, protective hats were made from steamed canvas, aluminum, steel, leather, plastic, and fiberglass. Today, the most common element used is polyethylene. Some hard hats come with visors, lights, face shields, radios, and ventilation. The next stage was evolving standard construction safety helmets.

Modern Safety Helmets

Helmets are generally used to protect someone’s head when operating objects such as bikes, ATVs, and skateboards. They are also worn by outdoor sports aficionados and rescue workers. Outdoor enthusiasts normally attach helmets closer to their head with chin straps; these helmets typically do not have brims. Newer features of safety helmets may include Hi Viz materials, ear protection, and attachable visors.

Construction hard hats have remained the same over the past 40 years, but Bloomberg BNA claims that this is changing. Bloomberg BNA recently posted designs of helmets for construction workers. These helmets were originally designed for mountain climbing and other outdoor sports. The main reason for this is so that helmets have better side impact protection and do not fall off during impact. The safety director of Skanska USA Commercial Development, explained that a hard hat may fall off when a worker falls and jerks their head.

Head Protection Categories

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies head protection into different classes and types. These classifications also coincide with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA also requires that employers provide head safety gear that meets or exceeds industry standards. Each class indicates protection from an electrical accident and each type indicates the protection level from an impact. The following are three different classes provided by OSHA:

  • Class C or Conductive: No protection from electricity.
  • Class G or General: Provides protection up to 2,200 volts.
  • Class E or Electrical: Provides protection up to 20,000 volts.

The following are two types of helmets that are classified by the OSHA:

  • ANSI Type I Helmets: These helmets reduce the force of impact to the top of the head.
  • ANSI Type II Helmets: These helmets reduce the force of impact to the side or top of the head.

Pros and Cons of Construction Helmets

Understandably, modern construction helmets have pros and cons. The helmets provide security from side impacts with a lifespan up to 10 years; helmets are also more stable with chin straps. However, they can be costly, prices range from 100 dollars to 150 dollars each. In contrast, hard hats average around 15 dollars with some models feeling too heavy on the head. Another barrier is a worker’s preference. Hard hats have a long association with construction workers and many workers may not want to change the traditional appearance and feel of standard hard hats.

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Support Construction Accident Sufferers

If you were injured in a construction accident while at work, you may be eligible for compensation. Our devoted Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow support workers who have suffered injuries from a construction accident. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation about your case. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, we also represent clients in Elsmere and Seaford, Delaware.

crush injury

What is a Crush Injury on a Construction Site?

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers discuss crush injuries on a construction site.Employees are susceptible to a variety of injuries each day. One type of injury, called a crush injury, often leads to severe complications, including death. Due to the nature of this type of injury, victims often need a long recovery period that often leads to expenses, including hospital bills and lost wages. 

What are Crush Injuries?

Crush injuries occur when an individual is pinned between two items. Ultimately, these incidents can lead to fatalities, nerve damage, internal bleeding, amputations, and other severe injuries.

Crush injury complications include:

  • Spinal damage, including paralysis
  • Tissue damage from blood flow disruption
  • High risk of infection in damaged areas
  • Severe brain injuries or internal bleeding
  • Risk of Compartment Syndrome, which may lead to the death of important muscles and tissues
  • Risk of Crush Syndrome, which often leads to organ shock and renal failure

Common Crush Injuries

Employees can obtain crush injuries whenever they are crushed between two items. However, there are a few common ways to obtain crush injuries. An employee may experience a crush injury from falling objects. For instance, if a construction worker is working in an unstable building, the ceilings, walls, or other objects may collapse and cause a crush injury.

An individual may also obtain a crush injury from being run over. Employees may experience this from a large piece of machinery, such as a forklift. The equipment used in construction settings are often extremely heavy. Therefore, severe injuries and fatalities may occur. Trench collapses can also cause injuries. Trenches are built by employees working on the inside. When trenches collapse, it often leads to fatalities.

Motor vehicle accidents may also lead to crush injuries. Professional drivers spend a lot of their time on the road. When an accident occurs, it may cause a crush injury. Mechanics may also obtain crush injuries if a vehicle falls on them due to a faulty jack stand.

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for Crush Injuries

Due to the nature of crush injuries, employees may be unable to work. This can lead to financial difficulties for victims and their families. Therefore, it is important for injured employees to consult a Workers’ Compensation lawyer. This will help families secure funds for medical bills and lost wages. Similarly, if an injury was caused by an external party, it is possible that the victim can file a third-party personal injury claim. This would be applicable to parties, including construction site managers, vendors, and contractors. This option may be used if a party’s negligence led to the injury.

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Employees

If you or a loved one obtained an injury at work, please consider contacting a Wilmington work injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Our lawyers work closely with clients to fight for entitled compensation. If you are interested in speaking to one of our lawyers, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.


How Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Stress?

Milford Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss how to file a Workers’ Compensation claim for stress. All work can become stressful. However, when work-related stress becomes an everyday occurrence that affects an employee’s quality of life, the employee may want to consider filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits. While getting approved for Workers’ Compensation benefits because of work-related stress can be challenging, employees have been successful under certain circumstances. First, it is important to talk about what differentiates certain stressors from others.

Why Some Workplaces are Exceptionally Stressful for Employees

Intense, rather than normal, work-related stress typically comes from work conditions and demands that are persistently difficult to deal with and achieve. As such, they become increasingly overwhelming. For example, an industrial worker may be constantly expected to work harder to produce unrealistic results. Eventually, the worker starts to feel emotionally taxed, as well as physically exhausted. Yet, instead of recognizing this, their supervisors continue to expect higher levels of productivity. It is obvious to see how this type of pressure can be a source of unyielding stress and anxiety.

Another type of workplace stress may stem from witnessing a traumatic incident, such as seeing a colleague become seriously injured or even killed. Stress may also come from being harassed at work or treated differently, which are both human resources matters and may be grounds to file a lawsuit. Aside from making the environment impossible to enjoy, bullying and snubbing by management can lead to tremendous feelings of unease and worry. Any continuous work stress beyond what is normal could be a reason to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Ways Employees’ Stress Can Manifest Itself

Employees cannot merely tell their employers that they feel stressed out to be considered for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Instead, they must be diagnosed with work-related stress by a professional. Some indicators of work stressors that can be proven through medical intervention include regular headaches, digestive difficulties, muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, sleeping problems, frequent illnesses, growing depression, panic attacks, memory issues, loss of interest in job, performance issues, aggression, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts. Anyone who experiences these indicators should seek immediate attention from a trained physician.

Filing for Stress-Related Workers’ Compensation

Most employees believe they can only file a Workers’ Compensation claim if they suffer a physical injury. Yet, Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to workers who can document their work-related stress with medical bills and other information. Attorneys can help stress-burdened workers file their initial claim, or help if the first was denied.

Milford Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Employees with Work-Related Stress Receive the Benefits They Deserve

If you were injured at work, a Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We can assist you in proving that your heightened levels of anxiety and related physical and emotional symptoms are a direct result of your workplace atmosphere and experiences. Call us today at 302-834-8484 or fill out an online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.

occupational diseases

Common Occupational Diseases

Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss common occupational diseases. Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to workers who become ill or injured in a work-related accident. Work-related conditions can be injuries resulting from a single, isolated incident, or a chronic, long-term illness caused by ongoing conditions or environmental factors at the job site.

Occupational diseases are caused by exposure to a host of different clinical, physical, and psychosocial hazards, some being less obvious than others. Employees seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits must prove the connection between workplace hazards and chronic illnesses. A skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer is the best resource for tackling complex work-related illness claims and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve. The most common occupational diseases impacting worker health and well-being include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Often the result of ongoing, repetitive motions, carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness and reduced function in the wrist and hand as nerves in the carpal tunnel become compressed.
  • Cancer: Exposure to a host of hazardous materials and carcinogens in labs, factories, and construction sites causes cancerous changes to the body over time. Mesothelioma is an incurable lung cancer many workers suffer from due to asbestos exposure.
  • Computer Vision Syndrome: Workers using digital screens for long periods of time experience headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.
  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss is the most common occupational disease impacting workers in the United States and is generally irreversible and severely impacts a person’s quality of life.
  • Poisoning: Ingestion or absorption of hazardous substances, including lead, mercury, carbon monoxide, gases, and other chemicals into the body causes toxicity and a host of potentially fatal symptoms.
  • Respiratory diseases: Breathing in dust, fumes, vapors, and gases causes several serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis.
  • Radiation Sickness: This is a serious and often fatal condition resulting from acute or chronic exposure to large amounts of radiation. Symptoms and prognosis vary depending upon the levels of exposure, but can include vomiting, headaches, and rapid heartbeat.
  • Skin diseases: Occupational skin diseases potentially affect more than 13 million United States workers who encounter chemicals that can be absorbed into their skin. Occupational skin diseases include highly treatable conditions, such as eczema and more serious cancers requiring advanced care.

Delaware workers have six months from the time they become aware they have an occupational disease to report it to their employer and a year to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Workers with other types of injuries have two years to file a claim.

Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Clients with Occupational Diseases

If you suffered from a work accident, you are entitled to benefits for your medical care and lost income while you are unable to work. The Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow understand the unique challenges of Workers’ Compensation claims. Call us at 302-834-8484 or complete an online inquiry to schedule a free consultation today. With locations in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.


Pool Worker and Lifeguard Safety

Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers advocate for pool worker and lifeguard safety.Swimming pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds offer a refreshing break from the heat. Lifeguards, maintenance personnel, and construction workers that work in and around these bodies of water help keep the public safe from drowning and other dangers associated with the water; however, their jobs are not risk free.

Lifeguard and pool worker injuries can be serious and at times, life-threatening.  Drowning, muscle strains and tears, and exposure to harmful chemicals are just a sample of the risks these workers face every day on the job.  When these injuries require time away from work to recover, Workers’ Compensation benefits can help reduce the financial strain placed on the victim and their family.

Types of On-the-Job Risks for Lifeguards and Pool Workers

Drowning is the number one risk for anyone that spends their day in or near the water, but fortunately, lifeguards and pool workers often experience in-water safety. Still, even with advanced swimming and water skills, these workers can drown when they are saving someone else in distress, or when they are injured and unable to save themselves. There are numerous safety risks that lifeguards and pool workers face each day on the job, such as:

  • Exposure to harmful UV rays from long days in the sun
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as chlorine, disinfectants, and other chemicals used to enhance water clarity
  • Biohazards, such as urine, vomit, feces, blood, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can pollute swimming pools and fresh or saltwater areas
  • Slip and fall hazards surrounding the work area
  • Physical assault when disagreeable vacationers get in conflicts with lifeguards

Common Injuries and Illnesses

There are a host of injuries and illnesses that can happen when someone spends most of their workday in or near the water. The most common types of infirmities for these workers include:

  • Skin cancer from prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays
  • Dermatitis and skin rashes
  • Eye injuries from chemical splashes
  • Respiratory damage and illnesses from inhalation of hazardous chemical vapors
  • Skin irritation resulting from handling toxic pool chemicals
  • Broken bones and head, neck, and back injuries from slip, trip, and falls
  • Torn muscles and ligaments from lifting rescue victims and heavy pool equipment
  • Communicable diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis, due to exposure to bodily fluids
  • Heat stress and heat stroke from working in tropical temperatures
  • Dehydration

Preventing Lifeguard and Pool Worker Injury and Illness

Lifeguard and pool worker safety is important to ensure a safe working environment. Attention to the following safety precautions can reduce and eliminate many of the dangers facing these workers:

  • Personal protective equipment, such as eye safety glasses, respiratory masks, sunblock, and UV-resistant clothing
  • Proper training for handling chemical substances
  • Lockout procedures for pool equipment
  • Proper ventilation in areas where chemicals are used
  • Appropriate chemical levels for disinfection of water
  • Emergency assistance training and on-site first aid equipment and defibrillators

Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Workers Claim Compensation

If you suffered from a workplace injury or illness, contact the Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Seaford and Elsmere.

summer work injuries

What are Common Summer Work Injuries?

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers warn workers of common summer work injuries. With summer quickly approaching, the risk of sustaining a workplace injury goes up. Working when it is hot and humid outside makes it difficult for your body to naturally cool itself. Workers who spend countless hours in the sun are at an increased risk of developing a workplace injury. If you or someone you know developed a workplace injury or illness due to prolonged exposure to the heat, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Common Workplace Injuries

Construction workers, landscapers, and farm workers are put at a higher risk of developing a heat induced workplace injury. Some of the most common workplace injuries include:

  • Heat Stroke: Heat stroke occurs when your body overheats due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Workers spending long hours in the heat are at risk of developing heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, confusion, and a racing heart. Although common, heat stroke can be life-threatening.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration is another common, yet life-threatening condition. Dehydration occurs when your body lacks sufficient fluid and electrolytes to function properly. Working outside for long periods of time without hydrating yourself can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness and fainting, fatigue, and dark-colored urine.
  • Falls: Studies show that workplace falls are more likely to increase during the summer months due to an increase in the amount of outdoor work employers may require from workers.
  • Car Accidents: Employees whose job requires them to operate a motor vehicle are at a higher risk of getting into a car accident. Studies show that car accidents happen more often during the warmer months. Summer is also an ideal time for construction work, which may lead to more work-related accidents.
  • Skin Cancer: Too much sun exposure puts you at an increased risk for skin cancer and sunburn. This is especially true for construction workers who spend long hours in the sun.

Workers’ Compensation for Summer Work Injuries

Workers’ Compensation laws make it so that employers are responsible for providing employees with safe working conditions. Eligible employees are those who were injured or developed an illness due to performing a work-related task for the benefit of their employer. Workers’ Compensation pays for your medical expenses, disability payments while you are out of work, and even death benefits.

Safe Practices During the Summer Months

The heat can be brutal for employees working out in the sun. To keep workers safe, employers should perform the following:

  • Allow frequent water breaks
  • Have an area set up specifically for employees to cool down
  • Educate employees so that they recognize symptoms of heat-related illnesses
  • Avoid having employees engage in heavy work during the hottest periods

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Clients Injured While on the Job

Summer work injuries can be fatal. If you or someone you know sustained an injury while on the clock, a knowledgeable Wilmington work injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Our experienced lawyers will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 today. With locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including Elsmere and Seaford.

drill safety

Powered Drill Safety

Milford Work Accident Lawyers discuss power drill safety. Construction workers rely on their tools – yet these devices are often the cause of serious accidents. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveys, close to 400,000 yearly emergency room visits are caused by power tools and other work tools.

Powered hand tools like drills come in many sizes and forms, including power drills, cordless drills, and drill presses. Drill presses are set on fixed stands and are also called drill machines.

There are safety recommendations for all of these, and adhering to them is essential for preventing workplace disasters.

Getting Started Safely

As with any tool, taking time to prepare is the first step. The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety suggests that workers wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like goggles, proper footwear, and gloves.

Drill bits should be kept sharp; if old or bent, they should be swapped out for a new one. When changing out a bit, the power supply should be disconnected.

The drilling area should also be primed. There should not be cords in the drilling area, and items being drilled should be stable and secure. Workers should be standing on level surfaces, in areas that are not muddy or wet.

Additional precautions include never trying to loosen a stuck bit by repeatedly stopping and starting the drill and keeping the drill’s vents clean.

Preventing Electrocution

Electrocution can be a significant risk for workers that use power drills, and safety rules focus on the electrical cords. These should be checked regularly for frayed insulation, splices, and bare wires. Cords should not be pulled on to disconnect them; they should be disconnected from the plug.

In addition, power tools should never be carried by their cords, and cords should be kept from sharp edges, water, oil, and high temperatures. While some electric tools are approved for use in wet locations, this should be properly vetted.

Power Drilling How To’s

Experienced and new workers should be properly trained on power drill usage, and must consistently employ safety measures when working. All employees, including supervisors, should keep safety at the forefront when work is underway.

If using a new or unfamiliar drill, the employee should try it out for a while until they are familiar with it; if it is old or in poor condition, another one should be used.

Drill bits should be chosen carefully, since different jobs require different bits. They should be placed straight into the drill’s jaws and tested to see if they turn smoothly. The pressure used to drill, and the types of bits chosen, both depend on the hardness of the material. Once drilling starts, it should be done slowly and carefully, at a right angle.

Certain materials like Plexiglas can be harder to drill. When an employee is having difficulties drilling through material, they should speak with a manager before proceeding.

In addition, drills may require cutting fluid, which should be chosen carefully before being used.

Milford Work Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Workers Injured by Power Drills

Powered drills can cause serious injuries. If you are the victim of a workplace power drill injury, we can help. Contact the experienced Milford work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware. Fill out an online contact form or call our Milford office at 302-422-6705, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500.


Workers’ Compensation Liens

Milford Workers' Compensation Lawyers provide information on Workers' Compensation liens.Many people are familiar with the term “lien” when it applies to property. For example, if a homeowner is in debt to a creditor, that creditor may place a lien on the house. If the homeowner does not repay the debt, the creditor can apply for a property lien. This is the first step towards granting the creditor a legal claim to the property, which could eventually be repossessed or seized. Liens can also be placed on other real estate, cars, boats, and other property.

Workers’ Compensation liens are based on the same principle. In certain states, including Delaware, an employee that receives Workers’ Compensation benefits plus a settlement from a third party may have a lien placed on that settlement by their employer’s insurance company. This is done so the employer can get reimbursed by the third party for the benefits they paid out for the worker’s lost wages and medical costs.

What Delaware Workers’ Compensation Covers

To qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Delaware, the accident and subsequent injury must have happened at work or while the employee was doing normal work assignments.

Benefits are provided for qualifying medical expenses, partial wage replacement; lump sum payouts may be paid for permanent disabilities and permanent loss of the use of certain body parts.

Third-Party Lawsuits

Many workers initiate claims against third parties when the work injury was not caused by themselves, a work colleague, or their employer. Workplace accidents can be caused by defective machinery, faulty building construction, contractors, and other supplies provided by property owners and manufacturers.

The injured worker may very well qualify for Workers’ Compensation, but can also file a personal injury suit against the third party. These lawsuits seek compensation for things that Workers’ Compensation does not cover, like pain and suffering.

Once the third-party claims are settled, the employer’s insurance company may proceed with placing a lien, in order to recover total or partial reimbursement of what they have paid to the worker.

Negotiation and Litigation

Delaware has a two-year statute of limitations for Workers’ Compensation liens. In addition, the employer may go after the third-party directly for compensation, if the employee does not institute a personal injury claim within 260 days.

These liens can be large, and can deter the worker from carrying out a personal injury lawsuit. In general, Workers’ Compensation liens are around two-thirds of what was paid out to the employee. In some cases, the lien amount is even greater than the amount that the worker would get if they won their case.

Due to the complexity of a third-party claim in addition to Workers’ Compensation, it is important to consult a Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer.

Oftentimes the employee’s lawyer will negotiate with the Workers’ Compensation insurance company. This can result in decreasing the amount of the lien. The insurance carrier usually covers their share of the litigation costs in these situations.

Milford Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help with Workers’ Compensation Liens

Workers’ Compensation claims can be complicated by personal injury lawsuits, but a capable and experienced Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help with your case. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at our Milford office at 302-422-6705, our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, or our Bear office at 302-824-8484.


Chicken Plant Injuries and Deaths

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers discuss chicken plant injuries and deaths. The United States Department of Labor reports that around 8,000 injuries are reported at poultry processing plants across the country every year. In October, a 59-year-old man died while replacing a pallet jack battery at southern Delaware chicken processing plant Allen Harim. His fatal work accident was one of a string of safety violations at chicken plants throughout the state in recent years.

Allen Harim had received over a dozen Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety violations over the past few years, raising questions about how safe poultry processing plant workers really are, and what can be done to better protect them on the job.

A Closer Look at Allen Harim’s Safety Record

In 2015, OSHA reprimanded Allen Harim’s operators, accusing them of not just failing to report worker injuries, but of also lacking the “proper medical oversight” to protect employees. They agency called medical management practices at the plant so inadequate that they created “fear and distrust” among workers.

Some of the problems OSHA found at Allen Harim include:

  • Excessively long employee wait times for the restroom
  • Job requirements, including repetitive motion and hard labor, that put workers at risk of harm
  • Improper equipment causing musculoskeletal disorders, including tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome

OSHA Penalties

In response to these violations, OSHA proposed $38,000 in penalties – an amount which Allen Harim challenged. A year later, The United States Department of Labor, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27, and Allen Harim reached a settlement. Allen Harim would pay one-third of the proposed fines and agree to upgrade equipment and revisit employee training.

The settlement’s conditions included a nonadmission of guilt on behalf of the poultry plant. A spokesperson for the Delmarva Poultry Industry asserts that injury rates among chicken processing workers are much lower than other agricultural industries.

Work Accidents and Wrongful Death in Delaware

Based on OSHA’s findings, Delaware’s chicken plant workers do not seem to be protected as well as they could or should be on the job. Surviving loved ones of workers who are killed on the job have legal recourse to seek accountability for a loved one’s fatal work accident.

The loss of a family member impacts their survivors emotionally, physically, and financially. The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to hold negligent parties liable for a loved one’s death, and recover financial compensation for their loss. The first step in a wrongful death suit is to demonstrate a third party’s responsibility for a preventable fatal accident.

Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is calculated based on the estimated financial loss a loved one’s passing will cost a family over time, in addition to non-economic losses like love, support, and companionship.

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Are Trusted Advocates for Surviving Family Members

Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow know what it takes to demonstrate liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. With our network of investigators and accident reconstruction specialists, we work to seek justice on behalf of your loved one. In addition to work accidents, we handle wrongful death suits for victims of car and truck accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice.

To learn more about your legal options and the best next step after a family member’s preventable fatality, schedule a consultation by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys proudly represent clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere and Seaford, as well communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

Top Lawyer Delaware