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Jackson & New Orleans Workers' Compensation / Blog / Workers Compensation / Louisiana Worker’s Death Highlights Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces on the Job

Louisiana Worker’s Death Highlights Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces on the Job


The terrible death of a Louisiana worker earlier this year highlights a disturbing pattern arising in workplace deaths – worker deaths in confined workspaces. According to news reports, in early 2024, Louisiana man and Thoma-Sea Marine construction worker Elmer Perez was welding inside a ship at Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors in Houma, Louisiana. When Perez did not turn up for his lunch break and after several hours had elapsed, Perez’s coworkers went searching for him, and found him deceased inside of a small confined workspace. Perez was only 20 years old at the time of his death.

Perez’s death is being noted not only for how tragic and untimely it was, but also because it is part of a disturbing trend when it comes to worker deaths in the United States: workplace deaths involving small, confined spaces. Indeed, workers who work in small, confined workspaces are at risk of not only lack of oxygen and being trapped, but also due to exposure to toxic gasses, fire, and other hazards that come along with being unable to move and with little room and oxygen to spare. Notably, in 2022, a total of 44 workers were killed in workplace accidents that involved confined spaces. This is a whopping 41% increase from the decade prior. A total of 1,030 workers were killed as a result of confined-space-related workplace accidents from the years 2011-2018. Confined spaces are present in manufacturing and construction work, and are common in agricultural work where workers often face tasks inside of grain bins and silos and manure pits.

Worker health and safety advocates note that it is aware that confined spaces are a serious threat to workers, but some employers simply see worker injuries and deaths as a “cost of doing business.” Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health stated, “It would take OSHA over a hundred years to inspect every business with a confined space…As for the penalties for some employers who are willful and negligent,  it’s the cost of doing business – so the penalties are not significant enough.”

Help for Injured Workers in Louisiana

As the case of Elmer Perez demonstrates, Louisiana workers are at risk of being severely injured or even killed on the job, particularly in jobs where workers must perform tasks in confined spaces. Fortunately, most Louisiana workers who are injured on the job in Louisiana are entitled to Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits to help get them back on their feet and back to their regular jobs. In order to determine whether you may be entitled to Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits for your workplace injury, it is best to speak with an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible about your rights and options.

The experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe, PLLC are here to help Louisiana workers get workers’ compensation benefits due to them. Contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation and learn about your rights and options today.



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