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Workplace accidents: Lack of lockout device causes fatal injuries

A worker at an aluminum foundry in Missouri was killed in a recent on-the-job accident. An area director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said this was one of many preventable workplace accidents nationwide, and offered the agency's condolences to the grieving family. The agency has launched an investigation into the incident.

Initial reports indicate that the maintenance worker was busy with troubleshooting a piece of equipment on the plant on a recent Monday. Under as yet unknown circumstances, the machine activated unexpectedly. The worker suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by the moving parts of the machine.

OSHA investigators will determine whether lockout/tagout devices were in place, and also whether the safety protocols related to lockout procedures were observed. The investigation will include interviews with workers and a review of company records related to worker safety. The agency reports that the Warrensburg facility's previous citation in January followed an amputation injury suffered by an employee last November.

Moving forward after learning that a loved one's death was preventable is naturally challenging. Families who have lost loved ones in fatal workplace accidents may face financial stumbling blocks. However, relief is available through the death benefits provided by the Missouri workers' compensation insurance system. Benefits claims may be pursued and expenses related to end-of-life arrangements are typically covered, along with the daily living expenses of dependents. To make up for lost wages, this financial package is based on the most recent wage level of the deceased worker and is offered for a specified period after the death.

Source: fox4kc.com, "Warrensburg worker killed when struck by machine", Feb. 16, 2016

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