Yesterday Safety News Alert told you how a court ruling expanded a state’s workers’ comp law to give companies immunity from being sued by contract employees. Today we have an example of what can happen when a state’s comp law doesn’t include that exemption.
The widow of a worker killed in an explosion will receive $6 million as part of a settlement with the owner of a refinery.
Gary Szabla was one of two workers killed in the explosion at the Clark Oil Blue Island refinery in 1995.
The families of the two workers filed wrongful death lawsuits.
Clark argued that it was shielded from the lawsuit under the state’s workers’ comp statute.
However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that wasn’t the case because Clark didn’t directly employ the two men.
The lawsuit brought by the other worker’s family is also close to a settlement, according to The Southtown Star.
Clark was also fined $1.2 million by OSHA which cited dozens of violations of workplace safety rules.