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Employer had no safety program at warehouse where worker died

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers in Ohio and around the country to maintain safe work environments. The death of a 33-year-old man in a warehouse illustrates the consequences of failing to observe safety regulations. The employee fell 7 feet from a wooden pallet raised by a forklift. He died a short time later at a hospital.

At his workplace, workers routinely rode pallets raised and lowered by a forklift to access inventory on high shelves. The practice represented improper uses of both the pallets and the forklift. According to the report about the fatal accident, the employer had not assigned a competent individual to monitor the workplace for safety hazards. Workers had no access to a health and safety program, and they received no safety education.

A summary of the causes for the man's death blamed the employer for failing to provide workers with proper equipment for moving inventory in high places. No supervisory controls prevented workers from misusing the forklift and pallets. The forklift operators also had not received training and certification about how to use the machines safely.

Workers have a right to file a complaint with OSHA to alert the agency to workplace hazards and safety violations. A person hurt on the job also has a right to collect benefits through workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. Having the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing the required claim documentation might be advisable, as an attorney could help ensure that it is filed on a timely basis.

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