Not an “accident”: Eric McClellan, 55, suffers fatal work-related injury in Chesterfield County, Virginia

Eric McClellan, 55, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Wednesday, November 25 while working at Reynolds Metals in Chesterfield County, Virginia. WTVR reports:

  • Mr. McClellan was “caught in a machine.”
  • His widow said her husband worked for Reynolds Metals for 25 years and was a seasoned machinist.
  • The incident occurred at the company’s packaging plant on Reymet Road.

Reynolds Metals is a subsidiary of Alcoa.

Using OSHA’s on-line database, it does not appear that Virginia OSHA has conducted an inspection at this Reynolds Metals facility, at least going back to 2000. A Reynolds Metals plant in Louisiana was inspected by OSHA last year in response to a complaint. The firm was cited for two serious violations and paid a $14,000 penalty.

Each year, about 100 workers in Virginia are fatally injured on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 116 work-related fatal injuries in Virginia during 2014 (preliminary data, most recent available.) Nationwide, at least 4,679 workers suffered fatal traumatic injuries in 2014.

The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:

  • Virginia OSHA has 51 inspectors to cover more than 192,000 workplaces.
  • The average penalty for a serious violation in Virginia is $660.
  • The average penalty for citations related to a work-related fatality occurring in Virginia is $5,000.

Virginia OSHA has until last May 2016 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Eric McClellan’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that his death was preventable. It was no “accident.”

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