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Family Of Man Killed At Cintas Plant Speaks At Congress

Congress might act to strengthen the laws on worker safety, and the family of a man killed at the Cintas plant in Tulsa is helping encourage that effort. His family spoke out Thursday in Washington on the tragedy. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports it was the first time the son of Eleazar Torres-Gomez had spoken publicly about his father’s death.

"No one should have to endure what my family has for the last seven weeks," said Emmanuel Torres-Gomez.

It was a press conference held in the capitol, after a congressional hearing by Senator Ted Kennedy and California Representative Lynn Woolsey. They want to increase regulations on workplace safety, in part they say, to prevent the kind of accidents like the one at the Tulsa Cintas plant on March 6th.

“To make sure we're going to extend the coverage, make sure we're going to protect workers in the workplace, in terms of the whistleblowers to bring those provisions that were pretty much state of the art at the time when we passed the OSHA and make sure that we have penalties so that penalties are not just a cost of doing business,” said Kennedy.

Eleazar Torres-Gomez was killed in a large dryer used for uniforms. While a government investigation of the accident isn't complete, the company has blamed the worker.

Cintas CEO Scott Farmer said in a company statement, "It is clear that (our partner) did not follow established safety rules which would have prevented this tragic accident. (He) climbed on top of a moving conveyor to dislodge a jam, contrary to all safety training and procedures, and fell into a dryer.”

But the man's family blames Cintas and claims the company still hasn't paid them workers compensation.

"Cintas is now denying my family the workers compensation benefits,” said Emmanuel Torres-Gomez. “We have already been robbed of our father and now Cintas denies us the money we need to live."

Eleazar Torres-Gomez’s family has hired an attorney. As for the legislation, it's a new effort by Democrats, with support from labor unions, to strengthen the OSHA regulations. It's a measure that has failed before, but is being introduced again.

Related stories:

3/7/2007 - Unions Critical Of A Tulsa Plant

3/13/2007 - Congressmen Seeks Cintas Investigation

3/23/2007 - Cintas Blames Death On Employee's Failure To Follow Training

4/24/2007 - Bill Aims To Improve Workplace Safety

Watch the video: Family Of Man Killed At Cintas Plant Fighting For Justice
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