3 FedEx workers die at World Hub in the last 5 years

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 10:08 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Friday’s tragic loss at the FedEx World Hub is one that will serve as a chilling reminder for many families.

In the last five years, three employees working at the FedEx World Hub have died while working on the job.

Personal injury and wrongful death attorney, Jeffrey Rosenblum, has represented families involved in FedEx lawsuits dating back to 2014 and says it’s time for change.

“It’s so early on that it’s all about getting answers for the family,” said Ronsenblum. “Why did this happen, could it have been prevented, what’s going to be done in the future to prevent this family from having to go through this same grief?”

In November 2017, the Memphis Police Department says grandmother Ellen Gladney died at the hub. She was found under a motorized mobile conveyer belt system.

Two years later, 23-year-old Duntate Young died at the hub after being struck by a cargo container door.

Friday, 33-year-old Jessica James died after police say she was operating a forklift when an accident ultimately killed her.

Gladney and Young’s cases have been settled, but Young’s still has to be signed off by a judge. It was delayed because of the pandemic.

FedEx was hit with a “serious” safety violation following Gladney’s death in 2017.

A months-long investigation by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) revealed the company failed to create procedures protecting some employees from situations “likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” FedEx was required to display that violation at the hub, create new procedures to prevent similar incidents, and pay a $7,000 fine.

TOSHA arrived at the hub Friday to investigate James’ death and says it could take 8 to 10 weeks before a report is released.

“It’s really, really difficult to be able to pierce that veil and sue FedEx for negligence or reckless conduct,” said Ronsenblum.

Rosenblum says he thinks legislation should be filed on the state level to help families with compensation when a tragedy like this occurs.

“It’s been our position that enough is enough,” he said. “At some point, the courts need to say is FedEx intentionally disregarding their safety policies and if so, we need to hold them accountable so that we can create change. To date, the courts have not done that.”

Fault for this accident has not been determined.

Typically, TOSHA investigators will survey the location of the incident, review company records and procedures, and then will conduct interviews with management and employees.

Action News 5 reached out to FedEx regarding its safety policies at the hub.

A spokesperson responded with the following statement:

“The safety and well-being of our team members is our top priority, and we are committed to providing a safe and secure work environment for our team members. At the FedEx Express Memphis World Hub, our ‘Safety Above All’ philosophy is reinforced through rigorous policies, strong team member education and engagement.”

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