Restaurant workers in Pennsylvania should know what sort of hazards they face. Exposure to harmful chemicals is one of them, as an incident at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Boston illustrates. On Nov. 7, an employee at that sports bar was cleaning the kitchen floor with a sanitizer called Super 8 when he quickly became sick. A second employee tried to squeegee the chemical out, became sick as well and was taken to the hospital, where he died.
The incident occurred around 5:30 pm. Witnesses say that people were streaming out of the restaurant coughing. Ten people, including eight employees and two customers, checked into hospitals later that day with symptoms like breathing difficulties and watery, runny eyes. All were treated with oxygen, but none were in serious condition.
Buffalo Wild Wings was closed for the rest of that day, and the incident is now under police and OSHA investigation. Customers who were there at the time of the incident recall the horrible smell, as of bleach, that came from the kitchen. A manufacturer of Super 8 has explained that it is commonly used in floor cleaning as well as dish washing. It appears that the strong reaction is out of the ordinary.
Whatever the investigation turns up, this is the kind of case that can lead to a claim under workers’ compensation law. The workers’ comp program pays out for not only injuries but also fatalities. Death benefits can reimburse the family of the decedent for funeral and burial expenses and provide wage replacement based on pay and length of employment. Victims, or the family of the victim, may want to see a lawyer before filing a workers’ comp claim because the process can be complicated. One may need to mount an appeal if the claim is denied.