Beasley Allen lawyer Kendall Dunson has filed suit on behalf of the family of a young woman who was killed on the job. The 20-year-old worker was crushed while cleaning a robotics machine at a Cusseta, Ala., manufacturing plant. Defendants in the suit are Joon, LLC, d/b/a Ajin USA, and Joynus Staffing Corp.
On June 18, 2016, Regina Allen Elsea of Five Points, Ala., was working at auto parts supplier Aijin USA when she was sent, along with three coworkers, to re-activate a robotics machine after the assembly line stopped production. While Ms. Elsea was inside the operations zone, the robot abruptly restarted, crushing her. She died from her injuries. Dunson is representing Elsea’s mother, Angel Ogle, in the wrongful death lawsuit.
“Unfortunately, thousands of workers are injured or die each year due to improperly guarded industrial machinery and employers’ indifference to safety,” Dunson says. “Simply put, the incident that took the life of Regina Elsea was preventable. OSHA’s investigation and official reports regarding the conduct of the Defendants responsible for Ms. Elsea’s death reveal a pattern and practice of disregarding OSHA’s safety regulations.”
Due to this tragically preventable accident, the family is mourning the loss of their young family member, rather than celebrating her planned marriage, which should have occurred just weeks after her death. “The family of Regina Elsea and the Beasley Allen firm are hopeful that this lawsuit brings justice to the family and prevents similar occurrences in the future,” Dunson said.
It is most significant that the Cusseta manufacturer and two staffing agencies currently face a combined $2.5 million in fines by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). An investigation found the companies in violation of worker protection policies. Ajin USA manufactures metal parts for Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Alliance Total Solutions LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp. are staffing agencies that helped place Ms. Elsea with Ajin.
“This senseless tragedy could have been prevented if Regina Elsea’s employers had followed proper safety precautions,” according to Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. He added, “In addition, it is unfortunate that Hyundai and Kia, who set strict specifications on the parts they purchase from their suppliers, appear to be less concerned with the safety of the workers who manufacture those parts.”
OSHA cited Ajin USA for willfully failing to use energy control procedures; exposing workers to caught-in, struck-by or crushing hazards; failing to provide safety locks and exposing employees to crushing and amputation hazards among other violations.
Dr. Michaels said, “Kia and Hyundai’s on-demand production targets are so high that workers at their suppliers are often required to work six and sometimes seven days a week to meet the targets. It appears that – to reduce its own costs in meeting these targets – this supplier cut corners on safety, at the expense of workers’ lives and limbs.”
The complaint has been filed in the Circuit Court of Chambers County, Alabama.
WSFA – Family of AL woman killed in workplace accident files suit against Ajin USA
AL.com – Mother of woman crushed to death by robot sues auto supplier
The LaFayette Sun – Family of Plant Worker Files Suit
OSHA – Alabama Auto Parts Supplier to Kia and Hyundai, Staffing Agencies Face $2.5M in Fines After Robot Fatally Crushes Young Bride-to-Be