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Workplace accidents: OSHA investigates freight company fatality

Due to the variety of products that are typically handled by shipping companies, workers at freight handlers nationwide, including here in Missouri, have to face many hazards that may lead to serious or fatal injuries. An incident at a shipping company in a neighboring state caused the death of a worker on a recent Friday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said two other employees of this company also lost their lives as a result of workplace accidents at two separate locations in 2015.

In this third fatal incident, a 37-year-old worker was in one of the freight company's trailers at approximately 5:30 a.m., according to an accident report. Under unknown circumstances, an RV panel struck the worker in the head. He was rushed to a local hospital but passed away at 9:15 p.m. on the same day. The medical examiner indicated that an autopsy showed that compression injuries caused his death.

OSHA initiated an inspection on the day of the incident. The agency investigators will determine whether this fatality was caused by the company's disregard of safety regulations. This branch of the shipping company was cited on two previous occasions for safety violations in 2010 and 2011.

Losing loved ones in workplace accidents is tragic, especially when investigators find that the accidents were avoidable. Following such a tragedy, a deceased worker's surviving family may be entitled to pursue financial relief to help with the high costs of a funeral and burial. Death benefits claims may be filed with the Missouri workers' compensation insurance program. In addition to coverage of end-of-life costs, the insurance fund may also provide a financial package to assist with the living expenses of the dependents. This is typically based on the latest wage level of the deceased worker and is offered for a designated period after the death.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "37-year-old fatally struck in head at Chicago Heights shipping company", Jordan Owen, Jan. 26, 2016

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