Employees Filed Suit Against Mars Petcare for Exposure
Eight employees of a recently closed Mars Petcare plant filed suit against the company just as operations were winding down at the plant, alleging that the company exposed them to phosphine gas. Also named in the lawsuit were J.C. Ehrlich Company and Frank Vasquez, the safety manager of the Joplin, Mo.-based plant. Fumigant Not Cleared From Rail Cars According to the lawsuit, the alleged exposure occurred when the fumigant remained in railcars that entered the plant from a location west of Joplin, causing the eight workers to suffer injuries to their eyes, lungs, respiratory system, and internal organs. Lawyers for the employees accuse the company of workplace negligence and carelessness. Other Parties The J.C. Ehrlich Company, while doing business as Presto-X, fumigated the railroad cars used by the Mars pet food plant. The cars carried organic products used in the pet foods. The plaintiffs allege that the fumigation company allowed dangerous levels of phosphine gas to accumulate in the railway cars, and then failed to clear them before turning the cars over to Mars. Court documents indicate that Vasquez did not follow company protocol that required him to determine if the levels of gas were safe. Effects of Phosphine Gas Used as an insecticide for the fumigation of animal feed and other grains, phosphine gas may cause illness in humans that includes headache, dizziness, nausea, labored breathing and pulmonary irritation or edema. Chronic exposure can lead to central nervous system damage, jaundice, liver damage and gastrointestinal problems. Some people exposed to phosphine gas develop seizures after they have apparently recovered from exposure. Mars Petcare and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the claim, and the company says it is committed to ensuring the health of employees. When workplace negligence is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in illness and injuries to employees, a liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free consultation regarding workplace negligence where injuries may have been caused or worsened by the carelessness of an employer.