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Contractor Allegedly Refuses to Pay Benefits to Family of Deceased SK Battery Plant Worker

June 07, 2021

COMMERCE, GEORGIA - A news story on reports that a fatal fall accident at the SK Battery plant in November last year has become a legal battle.*  The worker tragically fell to his death last November, and the contractor is allegedly blaming the SK worker for the fall.  The contractor is allegedly refusing to pay benefits to the SK worker's family.

MMR Constructors, a Louisiana-based subcontractor, was contracted to help build the $2.6 billion Jackson County battery plant.  MMR was in charge of performing some of the electrical work.  The company allegedly had a previous fall incident.  This SK worker was hospitalized after falling through a ceiling back in September 2020. 

According to the news report, workers who were working for other subcontractors had previously filed complaints with OSHA asserting various safety violations. Then the fall incidents began to happen.  In October 2020, another SK worker fell and was saved by his safety harness.  

In this cases, the workers' compensation benefits would usually pay $675 a week until the worker's child turns 18 or 21 if the child attends college.  However, MMR has decided to fight the claim, arguing that the state of "Georgia doesn't recognize common law marriage, and since he didn't tie off his harness, the accident was worker's fault."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the fatal fall accident and concluded that MMR had committed "serious" fall protection and other violations. OSHA issued a fine of $27,306.  Two months before the worker's tragic death, one safety officer for a different subcontractor warned OSHA that the workers were "exposed to fall hazards… mainly work being performed above various areas of ceiling grid not designed to be walked on."

The victim's widow filed a lawsuit accusing SK of committing several safety violations, including "failing to create and/or enforce safety rules and guidelines."

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.