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Workplace accidents: OSHA investigates unexplained railcar death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations applicable to various industries nationwide, including California. When workplace accidents occur, OSHA must be advised within a given period, and the agency typically investigates to determine whether safety violations caused -- or contributed -- to the injuries or deaths of workers. Such questions are now being asked by a justice of the peace and the family members of a worker who recently lost his life in a workplace accident in another state. OSHA is investigating.

The victim is reported to be a 42-year-old man who was employed at a company that performs maintenance of railcars. The accident report states that co-workers found the man's unresponsive body in a railcar tank on a recent Monday evening. Emergency workers were called to the scene, and by the time they arrived, the man had already been lifted out and placed on a stretcher. There were apparently no injuries evident, and the cause of his death is yet to be determined.

According to safety regulations, no worker is allowed to be in a tank without a second worker manning the top of the tank. That worker's duty is to provide support should the worker inside the tank have an emergency. The fact that this man's emergency situation went unnoticed is raising questions about compliance with OSHA regulations.

It is understandably traumatic when workplace accidents result in fatalities. Not only will surviving family members no longer enjoy the love and company of the deceased worker, but financial stumbling blocks may complicate their lives. Fortunately, end-of-life expenses are typically payable through the workers' compensation insurance fund in these circumstances. The immediate family dependents may also be entitled to a lost income package as well. Some California families choose to retain the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue all avenues of available compensation.

Source: 12newsnow.com, "OSHA investigates workplace death", Rebeca Trejo, July 7, 2015

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