In December 2012, a worker at Nix Forest Industries Inc. in Timpson, Texas was killed after he was struck by a broken band saw blade. This sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), revealing that workers were routinely exposed to hazards at the sawmill. Nix Forest Industries Inc. was ultimately cited with 17 safety and health violations, one of which was willful.
Nix Forest Industries Inc. knowingly put the well being of their employees in danger, as indicated by the willful violation, which is a violation that is committed with “intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.” Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas, states, “Nix Forest Industries failed to take adequate measures to protect workers from a variety of hazards, including being struck-by and caught-between machinery and equipment. Following OSHA standards saves lives. This unfortunate loss of life could have been avoided.” The total proposed penalties total $116,200 but a dollar amount does not replace the unnecessary loss of life that occurred in December.
Legal Commentary - Majed Nachawati - Author
In this unfortunate situation, the violations committed are clear. Under Texas law the findings of OSHA in this matter would support a jury finding of gross negligence, and a jury award of exemplary damages, in a jury trial of a lawsuit filed by the surviving family of the deceased worker. In fact, due to the gross negligence committed by the sawmill and the extent to which these violations endangered employees, a jury could easily award exemplary damages far in excess of the total penalties proposed by OSHA of $116,200.00. Such an award would serve the purposes of punishing Nix Forest Industries Inc. for its disregard in employee safety that resulted in the worker’s death in this incident, and helping to deter Nix and other employers from committing gross negligence in jeopardizing the safety and lives of workers in the future.
Again, while any monetary damages do not replace the loss of life, employers like Nix Forest Industries Inc. should be held accountable for their wrongdoing. If you feel like your employer has been similarly negligent or you've been hurt on the job, call us to learn more about your legal rights to recovery. The attorneys at the Dallas law firm of Fears Nachawati are prepared to advise you. For your free consultation, call us at 1.866.545.8364 or email email@example.com. We’re ready to help you!
About the Author
Attorney Majed Nachawati, who grew up in the D/FW metroplex, provides experienced, vigorous counsel to victims like you. That’s why Mr. Nachawati has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top Lawyer in Wrongful Death and Serious Personal Injury Cases across the nation. He has recovered millions for his clients and is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the American Association of Justice. To discuss your case with Mr. Nachawati, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1.866.705.7584. His legal background is featured at his Super Lawyers profile.