For the eighth time in the past four years, federal authorities are investigating the working conditions at a Georgia auto parts plant, this time in connection with an employee’s tragic death. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently launched a work safety inquiry involving Sewon America in LaGrange, Georgia, after someone submitted a complaint of excessive heat the same day that employee Teresa Pickard died. If you have suffered an on-the-job injury in Georgia, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, consult our knowledgeable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today for legal help. With our skilled legal team on your side, you may be able to pursue critical medical, disability or death benefits by filing a work injury claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier.
Worker’s Death Possibly Caused by Extreme Heat
Teresa Pickard died on May 29, after complaining that she was having trouble breathing after working on a project weld line at Sewon America’s auto parts facility, which manufactures metal stamped chassis and auto body components for Kia and Hyundai. Although the state medical examiner has yet to release the official cause of death, and despite claims by Sewon America that Pickard’s “death was not work related,” Pickard is believed to have suffered the effects of exposure to extreme heat, which may have also caused other plant workers to lose consciousness on the job that same week. Unfortunately, Pickard’s death isn’t the only blemish on Sewon America’s work safety record; federal regulators have identified multiple violations at the Georgia facility since it opened in 2009, and OSHA’s latest investigation is the eighth inquiry at the plant in the past four years.
GA Employees Complain of Poor Working Conditions
According to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, several Sewon employees claimed that the auto parts facility has inadequate air conditioning that results in stifling heat, especially around welding lines. Despite a company statement claiming that “Sewon is an air-conditioned facility, provides fans at employee stations, and has water strategically placed for the employees’ use,” claims by former plant workers tell another story. According to one former employee, she once went to the emergency room after a shift at the auto parts facility because she was dehydrated, which she attributes to the fact that the air conditioning was never turned on at the plant. Another former worker reported that the heat at the facility was so intense that it melted candy bars in the break room vending machine.
Contact Our Skilled Attorneys to File a Claim
Sewon America has faced OSHA fines in the past for willingly ignoring safety problems that threaten the health of workers, which is OSHA’s most serious violation. “We have been to this place eight times in four years,” said Ben Ross, an OSHA administrator. “We consider that a lot. Traditionally, we don’t get to most companies but one time.” If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident in Atlanta, Marietta, or elsewhere in Georgia, and you believe a work safety violation to be the cause, contact our reputable lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak to explore your possible compensation options. Work-related injuries can put a significant physical, financial and emotional burden on victims and their families. With the help of our experienced workers' compensation attorneys, victims of on-the-job accidents in GA can protect their legal rights and pursue the compensation they are entitled to.