Investigating workplace deaths in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

I-Team

Investigating workplace deaths in Michigan

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“I still feel like he's hiding out somewhere and he's going to show up one day,” said Amanda McGirr.

She said it still feels like only yesterday she got the devastating news: Her father, Steven McGirr, was crushed to death by a robot at Pontiac-based Hydrodynamic Technologies.

"It was his last day on third shift when the incident occurred, 15 minutes prior to his shift being over,” explained McGirr.

Federal labor records obtained by the I-Team showed the company was cited for four serious violations.

They eventually settled for fines totaling only $3,060.

McGirr said she never had even learned of the penalties until the I-Team told her. When she heard the fine amounts, she was fuming.

"It's ridiculous. They should have been shut down," McGirr said.

McGirr is not alone.

In 2015, three companies in Mid-Michigan experienced workplace deaths.

Steve Rivera was killed at Stress-Con in Zilwaukee. They were fined $3,500.

Richard Griffin lost his life after an incident at Owosso's Clark Engineering. They were also dinged for $3,500.

And Kenneth Curler died after he sustained injuries at Corsair Engineering in Flint. They were fined $7,000 but that case is still open and the fines could change.

With so many families outraged by the seemingly small fines, we took our investigation to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency, however, declined our requests for an on-camera interview.

In the end, Amanda McGirr knows nothing can bring back the man she once called dad.

She's not sure any dollar amount could ever ease the pain her family still goes through.

But she wonders if a $3000 fine, a slap on the wrist she said, is more like a slap in the face

Michigan ranks 48th nationwide in penalties for health and safety violations in the workplace, according to a report from the AFL-CIO.

The report said the average penalty last year was $612, compared with the national average of nearly $1,600.

The same report said 143 workers died on the job in Michigan in 2014. That's up from 135 the year before.

While MIOSHA declined requests for an on-camera interview, they did provide the following statements below:

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