Archive for workplace safety

Conductor Files Lawsuit In Fatal Amtrak Derailment

Between June 24, 2011, and April 3, 2016, there were nine Amtrak accidents in which nineteen people were killed and at least six hundred passengers were injured. In eight of the accidents, the cars derailed. The direct causes of the accidents involved a train hitting rocks, cattle feed truck, tractor-trailer, a truck and a train speeding in a curve out of control.

The last recorded Amtrak accident was on December 18, 2017. While this inaugural Amtrack train route could carry two hundred and fifty people, on December 18th, there were at least seventy-eight passengers and five Amtrak crew members. This route was the first time the train was running, leaving the Tacoma, Washington station, setting a course with the high-speed Amtrak Cascades 501 through the Point Defiance Bypass, from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

After the train left the Tacoma station, it derailed traveling at least 80 miles per hour at a curve which allowed only 30 miles per hour and the engine and four passenger coaches fell over an overpass with two dangling, and the other two fell onto the busy southbound lanes onto Interstate 5. A truck trailer and a passenger car were damaged. As a result of the derailment, three passengers were killed, and at least 80 passengers were injured.

Of the first lawsuits to be filed, one was one by a conductor in the lead engine that derailed, 48-year-old Garrick Freeman. Mr. Freeman filed a complaint because he suffered severe injuries to his pelvis and ribs. He will require extensive rehabilitation to relearn how to walk. A passenger, Pennie Contrell broke her collarbone and ribs. She also suffered an injury to her neck and internal injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident. Some issues to be investigated is the exact cause of the accident, whether the conductor and the crew were adequately trained to operate and navigate the new route and whether a system of positive train control could have avoided the accident. Further, before the accident, both engineers and conductors, like Mr. Freeman, complained that they informed their supervisors that they were not adequately trained to navigate the new high-speed rail system. However, notwithstanding Freeman’s concerns, Amtrak placed him in the lead engine the morning of the accident.

A Defective Robot Causes the Death of a Michigan Woman at Workplace

A man blames five robotics, welding, and automotive companies for his wife’s death. He claims that the five companies did not design, build and test the robot thoroughly. Wanda Holbrook, a former employee at Venta Ionia LLC, a company that deals with stamping, molding and other related services for chrome-plated plastics, bumpers and trailer hitches, was found dead after a robot crashed her head. The robot is said to have been malfunctioning, and it crushed her while she was adjusting a machine, as narrated by her husband during a lawsuit.

She was working in either of section 140 or 150 when a robot from section 130 approached her and hit her hard and crushed her head.

Holbrook was then found by her colleagues who announced the death was an instant one due to head trauma. Her husband filed a lawsuit, blaming Prodomax Automation Canada, Flex-n-gate LLC, FANUC Corp; Nachi Robotic System Inc. and Lincoln Company for Wanda’s untimely death. FANUC America and Lincoln are blamed for making the robot while Flex-N-Gate and Prodomax are blamed for helping in installation and servicing of the robot. It was a fault for the robot to move from section 130 to section 140 where it attacked the employee. It also made a mistake of trying to load a hitch assembly since the fixture was already loaded. The complaint said that there must have been a system failure in the robot and the defects caused it to kill Wanda.

According to the lawsuit, the automation system in those working sections was not safe enough, and this must have contributed to the incident too. The safety doors made to prevent robots from moving around from one section to another were not competent enough as claimed by the deceased’s husband. The estate where she came from has sought compensation for the wrongful death and product liability. They are represented by Matthew Wikander and Smith Haughey Rice. However, Amanda Butler declined the lawsuit claims but offered his message of condolence to the family. He said that their company provides adequate safety and that the claims that the safety regulations were not effective were not accurate, but they had to review the lawsuit completely before making any comments. Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, and Nerch had not yet replied to the emails sent to them requesting their comments on the same.