Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democratic senator from Kentucky, announced that state investigators would investigate claims that employees of a candle factory were threatened by termination if they fled to shelter in their homes during extreme weather warnings.
Eight workers were killed when the tornado that struck their factory smashed it to pieces last Friday.
Beshear said that an inquiry by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Program shouldn’t suggest to residents that “there was any wrongdoing” on the part of the company, Mayfield Consumer Products.
“But what it should give people confidence in is that we’ll get to the bottom of what happened,” Beshear said.
The review Beshear added, “will take months” to complete.
“Everyone is expected to live up to certain standards of both the law, of safety and of being decent human beings. I hope everybody lived up to those standards,” the Kentucky governor said.
Spokespeople representing Mayfield Consumer Products deny that workers were threatened, including the possibility of losing their jobs, if it was not Friday. But according to a report from NBC NewsFive workers claimed that the company threatened 15 employees who wanted to flee hours before the storm hit.
Workers may request to be let go At 5:30 p.m., the event began.According to NBC News.Workers pleaded with management for permission to stay at work and to take shelter at home when it became apparent that the siren had been set too early.
McKayla Emery, a worker who was injured in the building’s collapse, said that She heard conversations in which ultimatums had been given, and she was able to overhear them.Workers at Mayfield Consumer Products Factory.
“If you leave, you’re more than likely to be fired. I heard that with my own ears,” Emery said.
Elijah Johnson, another worker said he was threatened and terminated.
“I asked to leave and they told me I’d be fired. Even with the weather like this, you’re still going to fire me?” Johnson stated that he had asked a supervisor., who reportedly told him “yes.”
Bob Ferguson, spokesperson for the company has characterized claims by workers as “total nonsense.” Notably, however, Ferguson also The tragedy’s importance was downplayed. in a statement to local journalists this week, describing in a positive light the factory deaths as a “miracle situation” because “only” eight lives were lost.