Attorney Jeffrey Catalano assisted in obtaining a $1,500,000 settlement for a 42-year-old worker crushed to death while installing air pollution control equipment in a Massachusetts factory.
On May 1, 2018, a 42-year-old worker was crushed to death while installing air pollution control equipment in a confined space at a Massachusetts factory.
The equipment was a 12-foot-diameter wheel that weighed over 1,000 pounds when fully assembled. It came in two halves that, when connected, rotated around a center axle or hub.
Once inside the confined space, the worker removed the wood blocks propping up half of the wheel while it was suspended by a sling from above by a forklift. The half-wheel swung toward the worker, crushing him against the inside of the metal housing unit, nearly amputating his left arm and causing multiple fractures.
Emergency rescue efforts were delayed because the EMTs had to maneuver around piping in the confined space. After massive bleeding, the worker died of cardiac arrest approximately 40 minutes following the accident.
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant factory and the general contractor deviated from manufacturer instructions when they assembled the wheel inside the confined space and used wood blocks to prop up half the wheel.
Also, contrary to manufacturer instructions, a forklift instead of a crane was used to hoist the wheel into the housing unit, creating further instability and danger.
The general contractor failed to have an attendant and entry supervisor at the entrance to the space to prevent the decedent from entering.
The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant factory failed to have a rescue plan, which delayed the ability of emergency responders to get to the worker and remove him to stop the bleeding in time and save his life.
The defendants contested liability, claiming that the deceased worker knew he was not permitted to enter the confined space. Moreover, the autopsy toxicology report revealed that the decedent had elevated levels of cannabis in his system.
The decedent was unmarried with one adult son at the time of death.
The settlement was reached following a 12-hour remote mediation conducted via Zoom.