The family of a Middletown man who died in a workplace accident last year protested workplace safety laws Thursday and sought to see them toughened by the state.
“We’re here so that they don’t forget what happens to people and their families,” said Carrie Mullins, the mother of John Mullins.
He died July 20, 2016, in an industrial accident at The Granger Plastics Company, 1600 MADE Industrial Drive.
“There’s nothing we can do because of the intentional tort law,” Carrie Mullins said outside Granger.
That state law limits the liability of an employer against legal actions unless it can be proven that the employer committed an action with the intent to injure another, or with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur, or if an employer deliberately removed an equipment safety guard, or misrepresented of a toxic or hazardous substance.
“We are here to basically support him and make sure they remember that that happened at their place and promote safety in the workplace,” she said.
Granger Plastics officials could not be reached for comment for this story.
Mullins said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found four forklift violations, three that had to do with the fatality, and they had another violation, which was minor.
“But due to this Ohio intentional tort law, there’s nothing that we can do about it, so basically they get away with murder,” she said. “They were only charged $13,300.”
Mullins said she has contacted state Rep. Candice Keller about the problem and spoke to her aide last month.
According to the OSHA accident investigation summary, there were two employees working together to remove a finished product from a mold. One co-worker, a forklift operator, was operating the forklift in an attempt to position the finished product from the mold machine on the forklift’s forks. The other employee, a 23-year old male, was located between the raised forks of the forklift and the rotational mold machine.
The report said the employee was attempting to slide the product in place on the forks of the forklift when the forklift operator accidentally pressed on a pedal of the forklift causing the forklift to pin the employee between the forklift and the rotational mold machine. The employee died as a result of crushing injuries to the head, according to the OSHA report.
According to the OSHA website, the status of the case remains open and that two violations were issued with fines of $6,650 each in an informal settlement on Feb. 3.
Mullins said she wants more awareness to workplace safety.
“I don’t want them to forget John because we don’t, we think about him every day,” she said.