Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) August 8, 2014 — A willful disregard for employee safety led to the International Nutrition building collapse last January, according to an official report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The collapse, which killed two people and injured nine, occurred when rooftop storage bins, overloaded with limestone, caused three floors of the building to cave in. In a company statement, International Nutrition claimed that company officials had no knowledge of dangerous conditions.
“This company has been cited and fined by OSHA repeatedly over the last decade,” said David Lietz, a wrongful death attorney not involved with the case. “Ignorance is a poor defense for a company with a documented history of putting its employees at risk.”
After the initial building collapse, a fire broke out. Combustible dust is a common hazard in the grain industry, and OSHA has cited International Nutrition with combustible dust violations in the past. According to a press announcement by interim Fire Chief Bernard Kanger, Omaha firefighters pulled at least five people from the blaze.
In a publicly released statement, an OSHA investigator said that International Nutrition was directly responsible for the injuries caused and called the loss of life “senseless.” International Nutrition faces $120,650 in OSHA fines, and the company has only 15 days to appeal the findings of the investigation.
“It seems clear that this company compounded one reckless action with another until the situation ended in tragedy,” Lietz commented. “This report from OSHA is a major step toward holding those at fault accountable.”
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