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Workplace accidents: Unprotected worker dies in forklift accident

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration expects employers to comply with safety regulations at all times. These rules include basics such as providing workers with hard hats and other protective gear. Sadly, many fatal workplace accidents nationwide, including in California, result from violations of these basic regulations.

OSHA recently completed an investigation into a fatal workplace accident in another state. The incident involved the death of an employee of an iron and metal company that owned a scrap yard. The accident occurred in March when a 52-year-old worker, who was the maintenance manager, lifted an oxygen cylinder onto a forklift. Under undisclosed circumstances, the forklift struck the man, causing fatal neck and head injuries.

Investigators found that workers at the company were not provided with hard hats to protect them against potential head injuries that could be caused by falling objects. Furthermore, regulations related to employee training were disregarded. Drivers of equipment such as forklifts must be properly trained before being ordered to operate such dangerous machinery.

Some California companies do not realize that disregard of safety regulations can have a direct impact on their bottom line. Allowing hazardous conditions to exist can lead to workplace accidents that will in turn lead to insurance claims, causing increased premiums. Victims of workplace accidents may pursue workers' compensation benefits to cover medical costs and lost income. Dependents of workers who were killed in on-the-job accidents are typically also covered by the insurance program. Death benefits may be claimed to cover end-of-life expenses and commonly include additional financial relief based on the deceased worker's salary level.

Source: jsonline.com, "OSHA seeks fines against Waukesha scrap yard", Rick Romell, Sept. 1, 2015

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