Whole Foods Market Sued By Feds For Alleged Sewage Spill That Could Lead to Miami Workers’ Compensation Claim

Whole Foods Market, a popular nationwide chain of health food grocery stores, is being sued by the government over a labor issue after a worker complained about a raw sewage spill and was fired.

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration is suing the grocery store chain for unlawfully firing the worker who complained about the incident. It happened in Miami Beach.

But what our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers want to focus on is the raw sewage spill because this can lead to a major health and injury issue for a worker. Injuries at work are almost always preventable. Typically, more stringent work policies and training can prevent injuries, especially from spills. But when injuries do occur, it’s possible that filing a Miami workers’ compensation claim could be necessary to help the employee.

According to OSHA, in this case in November 2009, the employee brought up some concerns to a supervisor that a sewer line, which had ruptured the day before, was spilling into the workplace. Among the areas affected were the specialty cheese department and restroom areas.

After supervisors did nothing to correct the potentially harmful situation, the employee called the company’s anonymous phone tip line and complained that nothing had been done to correct the situation. Three days later, the worker told another manager that the problem still hadn’t been corrected. That day, the company fired the worker with the reason being making false and malicious statements.

Having a raw sewage line rupture nearby can not only be problematic for employees, but also for customers and the quality of the food. Many people could have been put at risk.

From a workers’ compensation standpoint, spills can be dangerous. Many companies work with a variety of chemicals and liquids that not only can be flammable or poisonous, but can also create a safety issue if a person slips and falls in an area that is covered with these chemicals. A workers’ compensation claim can even arise in a normal office setting if a refrigerator is leaking, coffee is spilled or another liquid is on the floor and someone slips and is injured.

The National Safety Council provides these tips for dealing with workplace hazards:

  • Maintain a database or a data sheet chronicling all chemicals that are stored or used at a work site
  • Be sure that information is accessible to employees at all times and is translated into different languages and is understandable for all
  • Train employees on how to understand the sheets and provide training about the chemicals and their effects
  • Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations on how to handle and store the chemicals
  • Create a spill cleanup kit that is easy to access
  • Train employees on how to clean up spills and dispose of them while staying safe
  • Make sure all employees have proper protective equipment at all times

These are just some small, but important, steps that must be taken in order to try to keep employees safe. Still, accidents happen and workers get injured. Sometimes, filing a workers’ compensation claim to get help for medical bills is needed. Trust an experienced Miami workers’ compensation lawyer to help.

If you are seeking legal representation from a worker’s compensation lawyer in Miami, contact Barakat Law for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305)-444-3114.

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