A Philadelphia man has been killed in an industrial accident at a New Jersey processing plant with a history of serious safety violations. 

Philadelphia Man Killed By Machinery 

Felipe Rodriguez-Tzon, a 28-year-old man from Philadelphia, was killed at work on Saturday, January 18th, at around 12:30 a.m. 

Although details have not been provided, responding officers stated that Rodriguez-Tzon was extracted from machinery at Safeway Fresh Foods in the refrigerated section. First responders worked to save his life but he died on the scene. 

The facility, which provides packaging for fresh and frozen foods for local stores, has not issued a statement regarding the deadly accident. 

Safeway Fresh Foods: A History Of Serious Violations 

working in a food processing plantWhen a facility is inspected by a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), violations are recorded. According to OSHA records, Safeway Fresh Foods has been issued numerous violations in the past, violations that are deemed “serious”. Past violations from 2013 and 2018 had to do with issues such as handling materials, general requirements for machines, abrasive wheel machinery, bloodborne pathogens and medical services and first aid. 

When a facility has serious violations that are left uncorrected, workers are put at risk. To determine if a violation resulted in the accident that claimed the life of Rodriguez-Tzon, OSHA will be conducting an investigation. 

What Steps Does OSHA Take If Workplace Violations Are Found? 

When violations are discovered during an OSHA violation, the administration can issue fines and stop-work orders. For serious violations, the maximum fine is $13,494 per violation. If an organization fails to correct the issue that they are being fined for and willfully puts workers in harm’s way, OSHA can fine up to $134,937 per violation. 

In addition to this, a stop-work order can be issued. Stop-work orders can be partial, meaning only a section of a job site is shut down, or full, meaning the entire job site is shut down. A stop-work order can be reversed when the person or company in charge of the site shows the issue has been corrected. 

I Believe My Workplace Is Unsafe – Can I Contact OSHA? 

Absolutely. If you have reason to believe that the safety of employees at your company is at risk you can make an official complaint in several ways. First, you can submit through the OSHA Online Complaint Form. Alternatively, you can call your local OSHA office or mail the office a PDF copy of the complaint form. 

What Legal Options Do Injured Workers Or Their Loved Ones Have? 

If you’ve been seriously injured at work or your loved one has been killed on the job, you may have several legal options. First, a workers’ compensation claim can be filed. This claim can provide coverage for medical treatments and a fraction of lost wages. Death benefits are also available through workers’ compensation. 

Depending on the circumstances, a work injury lawsuit may also be an option. This lawsuit is filed against a third-party whose negligence resulted in the accident. For example, if a worker is injured or killed because of a defect in machinery, the designer, manufacturer, or person responsible for maintaining that machinery can be held legally responsible. 

This civil lawsuit is filed in addition to a workers’ compensation claim and can provide additional compensation for medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, emotional suffering, and death benefits. 

If I File A Lawsuit Does This Mean I Am Suing My Employer? 

No, typically workers are legally prevented from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer if provided with workers’ compensation coverage. 

Schuster Law: Protecting Workers In Philadelphia 

If you would like an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney to review your case, contact Schuster Law. Our attorneys have worked with local residents for decades and our legal team fights aggressively to ensure that our clients get the maximum compensation possible. 

Call our local law office today to learn more about your legal options, our legal team, and how much you may be owed.