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Inmate work injury instigated legal action for toxic exposure

Wisconsin inmates are often involved in work programs during their incarceration, usually in industrial factories or other trade type professions. These people are protected under the same safety and health regulations as other industrial workers, and, when an inmate suffers a work injury, they may receive related benefits. Recently, an inmate work injury instigated legal action for toxic exposure the man may have experienced while on the job.

The work injury occurred while the inmate, who is also an employee, completed his duties at a fiberglass manufacturing facility. The man accuses the Wisconsin company of exposing him to toxic compounds that created lung damage when inhaled. His physician reported that both the correctional institute and fiberglass manufacturer ignored the inmates attempt to uncover chemical exposure that may have caused his 2 day hospitalization. It was medically confirmed that his bronchial tube swelling was from exposure to toxic chemicals.

Resulting from this attempt to gain information, the prisoner received disciplinary action after he was released from the hospital. The man purportedly attempted to write a letter to his previous employer regarding his work injury and was placed in segregation and denied parole for four months. This motion has since been revoked. Reports reveal that the investigation instigated by the man's legal representation caused OSHA to begin their own analysis, fining the fiberglass manufacturer $36,900 for this and a number of other extreme accusations. They are continuing to investigate potential inhalation risks from dust that may lead to serious injury or death.

The inmate who suffered respiratory damage will never be able to regain the time and health he lost during the work injury and discipline he received. The inmate work injury instigated legal action against a company that could potentially owe workers' compensation benefits to many people who were hurt. A victim of industrial neglect may also choose to pursue justice with professional assistance in a similar situation.

Source:, DOC reverses discipline against inmate injured on work release, Dee J. Hall, OCt. 26, 2013

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