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OSHA says fatal work accident at Ford plant was avoidable

Learning that the death of a loved one was preventable must be devastating. Six months after a fatal accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that its investigators determined that the death of this Missouri worker could have been avoided. The family learned that his employer's failure to comply with prescribed safety regulations that caused the fatal work accident.

The 57-year-old worker was employed by a company that was contracted to rebuild an assembly line at a Ford plant in Claycomo. According to OSHA inspectors, a temporary support safety pin on the conveyor carriage of the assembly line disengaged due to a weld failure. The massive carriage -- weighing 7,600 pounds -- fell on the worker, crushing him to death.

OSHA said had the employer inspected the assembly line as prescribed by regulations, the inadequate welding could have been identified and corrected. This failure exposed workers to struck-by hazards and created conditions in which workers could be crushed. The contracting company was cited for a violation that was classified as willful, and a penalty of $70,000 was proposed.

When a Missouri worker is killed in a work accident, the surviving family members will likely face financial difficulties when end-of-life bills have to be settled. In addition, monthly obligations may be difficult to meet due to the loss of the loved one's income. The workers compensation insurance fund provides death benefits to surviving families of victims of fatal workplace accidents. The benefits commonly include the costs of a funeral and burial, along with financial compensation that is based on the latest level of income of the deceased worker.

Source: kmbc.com, "OSHA: Contractor's death at Ford plant preventable", Jeffrey Field, June 11, 2015

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