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Two brothers die at California composting facility

A California facility where two brothers died has filed a claim against a county because that county is attempting to shut the facility down. The two brothers died while attempting to clean out a drainage shaft at the facility.

The 16-year old brother was overcome by fumes while engaged in this maintenance task, and his 24-year old brother also was overtaken by fumes while attempting to rescue his younger sibling. Officials believe that the brothers died due to inhalation of hydrogen sulfide, a deadly poison that can come about during the composting process.

In all, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) issued 13 citations against the company that totaled up to $166,890 in fines. The accusations include failure of the company to implement safety procedures that could have possibly prevented the two young men from dying.

The company has been accused of various violations that go back a number of years. The mother of the boys has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits serve two purposes: (1) these suits can often compensate individuals that have suffered great financial and emotional loss due to the needless deaths; and (2) these lawsuits can force needed safety changes.

Though the company is now fighting to stay in existence, obviously the types of practices that led to the two brothers' deaths cannot be tolerated. The lessons learned from their deaths need to be demonstrated by this and other companies so that similar deaths do not occur in the future.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, "Composting facility where brothers died files claim against county," by John Cox, Dec. 4, 2012

  • No one should die due to other's negligence. Please see our wrongful death attorney website for options for family members.

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