Kentucky authorities are going to look into allegations that management at a candle factory coerced workers into staying at a workplace that was devastated by a tornado.
“Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that state investigators will probe the Mayfield candle factory where eight people died in a catastrophic tornado and workers said they were threatened with termination if they left their shifts early.
Beshear told reporters at a news conference that the inquiry’“shouldn’t suggest there was any wrongdoing.’
‘But what it should give people confidence in is that we’ll get to the bottom of what happened,’ he said.
A time frame for the review by the state Occupational Safety and Health Program wasn’t immediately clear. Beshear said such an investigation doesn’t happen ‘one day or a couple of days after’ an incident.
‘Everyone is expected to live up to certain standards of both the law, of safety and of being decent human beings,’ he said. ‘I hope everybody lived up to those standards.’
Five workers at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory said in interviews that managers told employees that they would probably lose their jobs if they went home.
In an interview from her hospital bed, McKayla Emery, 21, said workers first asked to leave around 5:30, after tornado sirens blared outside the plant.
‘If you leave, you’re more than likely to be fired,’ Emery recalled overhearing managers tell four workers standing near her. ‘I heard that with my own ears.’
Another employee, Haley Condor, said 15 people asked to leave early. In response, managers took roll to determine who had left, said Elijah Johnson, who also works at the factory.
‘I asked to leave, and they told me I’d be fired,’ Johnson said.”
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