OSHA investigating fatal 2019 chemical exposure at Decatur Daikin plant

News

DECATUR, Ala. — The Daikin-America plant in Decatur is on the radar of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after multiple hazardous chemical exposures.

This news comes after Wesley Rusk, a 20-year employee of the company, died this week after being exposed to hazardous chemicals on the job in early July.

News 19 has learned that OSHA is looking into a chemical exposure incident that occurred at the plant in October 2019. According to the report, an employee showed up to work with a cough, was advised to go to a doctor, and died from an unknown chemical exposure.

OSHA says Daikin-America is currently contesting the report.

A lawsuit, filed by Huntsville attorney Randy Ferguson, alleges that while on the job, his client was allegedly exposed to hazardous chemicals — and still lives with the long-term effects.

Darby Dockery, a contractor who worked with Daikin-America, was exposed to hazardous chemicals while on the job – and will remain on oxygen for the rest of her life. (Courtesy of Darby Dockery)

“Darby Dockery is on oxygen and will be for the rest of her life,” Ferguson said. “She stayed at UAB in intensive care for four months. Her life expectancy is five good years if she has a double lung transplant.”

“Our case is against her employer, and Daikin who contracted her employer,” Ferguson continued. “We’re expecting to go to trial next spring.”

Daikin has still not responded to questions about if any other employees were exposed to chemicals besides Wesley Rusk this July – or if they know anything about what chemical they may have been possibly exposed to.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories