A promising senior at Yale University from Scituate, Massachusetts, known for her brilliance and modesty, died on April 12, 2011 in a chemistry laboratory accident. In a statement disclosed by the school, Michelle Dufault died after “a terrible accident involving a piece of equipment in the student machine shop in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.”
Reportedly, Ms. Dufault’s hair was pulled into a piece of machine-shop equipment known as a “lathe”, described as a complex piece of machinery machine used for wood and metalworking. The university has now moved to limit undergraduate student access to power equipment. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation of lab safety practices and the safety of the equipment in the labs in general.
Unsafe working conditions, defective machinery in laboratories, and other workplace environments can lead to tragic consequences, including wrongful death and catastrophic injury. Injuries include brain and spinal cord injuries due to falls, electrocution injuries, crushing or asphyxiation injuries, or injuries as a result of being struck by heavy equipment. It is the job of the employer or contractor assure that proper safety equipment and safety measures are in place to prevent such tragic outcomes.
Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has a national reputation for successfully representing consumers and their families who have been victimized by hazardous machinery and unsafe working conditions, resulting in death and catastrophic injuries. If you or a family member have suffered significant personal injuries, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.