According to the Associated Press, a federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 11 workers who suffered injuries doing toxic coal cleanup at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant.
The workers are seeking $55 million in compensatory damages. Aside from the TVA, the lawsuit names Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. as a defendant. The men were reportedly involved in the cleanup of more than 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash sludge at the plant, following a December 2008 accident in which a holding cell collapsed.
The accident caused sludge to enter the Emory River and Swan Pond countryside in Roane County, according to the AP. Jacobs Engineering was contracted to clean up following the accident. The lawsuit alleges that the company knew about the toxic elements involved with the cleanup effort, but failed to tell workers about the impact it could have on their health.
Jacobs allegedly did not allow workers to wear respirators or dust masks, according to the lawsuit. One worker suffered respiratory issues so bad following exposure that he is awaiting a lung transplant. Others allegedly suffered “strokes, skin problems, sinus ailments and heart issues.”
Aside from compensatory damages, the workers are seeking punitive damages equal to 15 percent of the revenue Jacobs received for the cleanup, according to the AP. The company was allegedly paid more than $40 million for the effort.
Pursuing a Lawsuit over a Workplace Injury
It is sad that this many workers suffered respiratory injuries because of their employers’ alleged negligence. As this case shows, employees rely on their supervisors to make sure that they are working in safe conditions. Safety should always be at the forefront of any project or cleanup effort.
Many workplace accidents are avoidable. If you have been injured on-the-job, speak to our Nashville attorney about pursuing workers’ compensation benefits and/or a third-party lawsuit.
You can contact our firm by using the live chat option located on this page. Our attorney can conduct an independent investigation into your injuries to determine if negligence by your employer played a role in their occurrence.
“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalms 51:2