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Debate rages over hiding names of deceased workers

On Aug. 25, the names of thousands of workers who died on the job were removed from OSHA's website. Three of the victims were killed while they were welding a 30-foot tank for the Packaging Corporation of America in Louisiana. The men were thrown 200 feet when the tank exploded.

The company was fined $63,375 by OSHA, and the association added the workers' names to an online scrolling list of workplace victims. OSHA says that their names were later removed to protect the privacy of their family members. However, some of the victim's relatives said that their names should remain as a way to hold employers accountable for their actions. One said that choosing to remove this information makes victims seem more like statistics.

Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce believe that it is inappropriate to shame companies before an investigation is complete. The Packaging Corporation of America accident is still being investigated by the Chemical Safety Board. However, it is reportedly not the first deadly accident involving the company. It is also important to point out that victims of workplace accidents may initially be identified to the public by the media or in police reports.

If a worker is killed in a workplace accident, the family of the victim may be entitled to death benefits through the workers' compensation system. An attorney may be able to help family members make claims or answer any questions that they may have about the case. If an employer commits gross negligence, it may be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company for potentially allowing dangerous conditions to persist.

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