State laws Fines/penalties

New Indiana law increases maximum fine for worker deaths

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Indianapolis — An Indiana law scheduled to go into effect July 1 raises the maximum monetary penalty for on-the-job fatalities.

H.B. 1341, signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) on April 24, increases the maximum penalty to $132,598 from $70,000 for each worker death resulting from an employer knowingly violating safety regulations.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) introduced the legislation in January on the first anniversary of the death of Shacarra Hogue, a 23-year-old factory worker who was fatally crushed by a press in Fort Wayne. A state investigation found that the company had removed safety features from the machine so workers could climb into it, according to a report published Jan. 7 by Fort Wayne local news WPTA-TV.

Hogue died when a co-worker started the machine while she stood inside it. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company $6,300.

“It’s shocking to me that we have even one company removing vital safety features from a piece of equipment,” Carbaugh, who chairs the House Insurance Committee, said in an April 10 press release. “This tragedy resulted with the death of a young, vibrant woman and could have easily been avoided. That’s the really frustrating part of all of this.”

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