Tornado Damage Leads to OSHA Investigations

In mid-December 2021, tornados caused serious damage, injuries, and fatalities throughout the Midwest, particularly at an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, and a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Amazon Investigation

The Amazon warehouse collapsed after it was hit by the EF-3 tornado, leaving six employees dead. OSHA inspectors are investigating to determine if workplace safety rules were followed prior to the incident. Workers didn’t have much time to prepare after the tornado warning was declared. The tornado collapsed both sides of the warehouse and the roof caved in.

Most of the workers went to a shelter on the north side of the building, and a smaller group went to an area on the south end. These are spaces away from windows that are considered safer than other areas of the warehouse.

Amazon has donated $1 million to the Edwardsville Community Foundation and plans to assist employees and their families who were affected by the tornado.

If the OSHA investigation discovers gaps in protections for employees, they will collaborate to develop new rules. They will review the warehouse’s Emergency Action Plan and review how the plan was executed.

Mayfield Candle Factory Investigation

Another tornado hit the candle factory in Kentucky, where multiple workers were on the overnight shift. There were 110 people in the building, with up to 70 initially feared dead. In the end, there were eight fatalities.

Four candle factory workers told NBC News that they were threatened with being fired if they left the factory early that Friday night. OSHA regulations state that companies must identify places to take shelter and make sure that employees are familiar with community warning systems.

OSHA safety records show that Mayfield Consumer Products reported 4.2 injuries per 100 full-time workers in 2020. This number is 3 at comparable manufacturers.

OSHA and Worker Injuries

OSHA was created to ensure American workers have safe workplaces by setting industry safety standards. It also conducts workplace inspections, provides information and training about hazards and harm prevention, and provides the ability to review records of workplace injuries.

Employers are required to report work-related deaths within 8 hours. Other serious injuries must be reported within 24 hours. You can report an incident by calling 1-800-321-6742 or filling out an online form.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work-related incident, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.