GE Aviation and its parent company General Electric have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by one employee and the estates of another two employees. The complaint was filed on Nov. 21 in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
According to the complaint, all three employees worked at the GE Testing Facility in Peebles, Ohio, which is about an hour from Cincinnati. Only about 15 feet separated the three employees while working and all three were diagnosed with brain cancer. The complaint states that the three employees were exposed to hazardous materials, including X-rays and ionizing radiation. According to the lawsuit, the exposure led to the employees' glioblastoma brain tumors.
The lawsuit is currently under review by GE and a spokesman for the company said, "GE has an extraordinary work safety and environmental record across the more than 80 sites we operate around the world."
The complaint states that high-energy industrial X-ray machines, as well as other equipment and materials, were used for imaging requirements for the large aviation equipment and engines. GE is accused of knowing about the hazards that radiation presented, but not informing the employees.
Other accusations in the complaint are that GE failed to replace defective or ineffective equipment, ignored industrial and medical knowledge that associated radiation with cancer, created an unreasonable risk of harm to the employees, failed to use equipment designed to reduce radiation levels and knowingly violated standards put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Besides wrongful death, other damages alleged include physical deformity, physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses from the past and in the future.
When faced with a lawsuit such as this one, employers need to do everything possible to determine the validity of the employees' claims. Legal teams that are experienced in defending such claims will have access to expert witnesses to appear at trial, if needed.
In some cases, a settlement may be one solution, but litigation is also possible when the claims of employees do not have sufficient evidence to back up their claims.
Source: Dayton Business Journal, "GE Aviation sued by three employees over cancer claims," Andy Brownfield, Dec. 08, 2017