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Forklift accident causes fall that kills 21-year-old worker

Construction company owners nationwide, including in Missouri, have a tremendous responsibility to protect employees against injuries or illness. Construction sites have multiple known safety hazards, two of which are falls and forklifts. Considering the dangers posed by forklifts, it is unfathomable that employers can allow operators of these machines to elevate workers to higher levels. An employee of a construction worker who lost his life in a recent forklift accident in another state must now answer to federal safety agents.

A 21-year-old worker recently fell approximately 30 feet from the fork of a lift truck. A spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says there was a wooden pallet on the fork, and the construction worker was standing on the pallet. For reasons yet to be determined, the fork part of the truck broke off. This sent the worker plummeting to his death.

OSHA records indicate that the same company had been cited for failure to protect workers from fall hazards on two prior occasions. The most recent incident that occurred in April 2015 led to a $10,560 fine for three fall-related violations of which two were repeat violations. Prior to that, the company paid half of a $2,800 fine in a settlement after an inspection into a fall accident in July 2012.

Employers in Missouri must ensure that workers receive safety training to inform them of the potential hazards and supply them with the necessary personal protective equipment to avoid injuries. The family of this young worker who died in a forklift accident will likely have to cope with the unanticipated expenses related to a funeral and burial. They can claim workers' compensation death benefits that will provide coverage of these costs, and the insurance program may include a wage replacement package to make up for lost wages.

Source: nj.com, "Company in fatal forklift accident has history of safety violations", Justin Zaremba, Nov. 22, 2016

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