Bosses stripped tell-tale uniform off a worker to hide workplace injuries

FOUR businessmen, from Chiclana de la Frontera in Cádiz, have been accused of stripping a dying employee of his uniform on the way to hospital, to avoid being held accountable for his death.

The 42-year-old workman, who had no social security, no specific training to operate heavy machinery, and no adequate, protective clothing, died from injuries sustained while operating a forklift for the business.

The men who removed his uniform have been accused of involuntary manslaughter. But though the accident took place on 17th July 17, 2018, it wasn’t until this January that the Guardia Civil launched an investigation to clarify what happened.

Given that the poor employee arrived at the hospital without his uniform, the cause of death initially was not ruled to be the result of a workplace accident.

This meant that his wife and two children were left “practically destitute,” since they were allowed only to receive the pension provided for deaths caused by common contingencies, said the Guardia in a statement last week.

But there was more to the story. On 17th July, the workman was manning an electric forklift truck, despite having had no training to operate heavy machinery, or protective clothing, according to investigators.

When the workman was seriously injured after being trapped in the machine’s lifting mechanism, the business manager and another employee put him into a private car and drove him to the La Longuera medical centre, in Chiclana de la Frontera.

And, said the Guardia: “On the way, they stripped him of his work clothes, which had the company’s logo, so as to not raise suspicion and avoid being held responsible.”

The two men told the doctors “he had fallen accidentally” outside of work. The employee was transferred to the University Hospital of Puerto Real, because of the seriousness of his injuries, and he died hours later.

Eight months after his death, the Guardia Civil believe there is enough evidence to prove that “the death of the workman was due to a lack of training in operating the machinery he was using.”

But this was just one or many irregularities the officers found in the investigation, being conducted in collaboration with the work inspectorate, which the family of the victim contacted at the end of October.

By reconstructing the events of 17th July, investigators discovered that the employee was not given protective clothing and was not covered by social security.

Indeed, none of the company’s workers had social security, and the business also lacked safety and evacuation plans.

The four businessmen were arrested at the end of March and released soon after, with charges. The judge is investigating them for involuntary manslaughter and violating workers’ rights.

The men are also facing sanctions from the inspectorate of work and social security, because of the numerous irregularities found at the company, as well as a possible fine from the Chiclana planning department for other related infractions.

Thanks to the police investigation, the victim’s wife and children are now receiving the widow-and-orphans’ pension, provided for deaths caused by workplace accidents.


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Posted by on Apr 18 2019. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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