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OSHA says fatal accident could have been prevented

The dangers of the workplace are often forgotten by employees, perhaps due to the repetitiveness or stagnancy of many jobs. The normal rundown of a job becomes second nature for many employees in Florida and because of this, safety is taken for granted by both employees and employers. Sadly, this can lead to devastating workplace injuries. For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that a worker who died on the job could have been saved if the employer simply followed the requirements for maintenance and operation provided by the manufacturer.

That incident involved an individual who was crushed by a crane at an equipment repair and rental company. According to reports, inspectors from OSHA determined that the equipment had been out of service for more than six months and had not been inspected before being used. Outriggers on the crane, which are designed to maintain balance for the truck-mounted crane, were not implemented during the crane's use. Without these being extended, the stabilization of the crane was compromised, leading it to tip and fall onto the now-deceased employee.

OSHA inspectors added that the employer should have tagged the keys to the crane, indicating not to use them. This did not happen, even though it could have prevented the death of the worker. Investigators also discovered a number of violations at the facility where the incident occurred, including machines that were not properly guarded to prevent injuries, improperly secured gas cylinders and equipment in less-than-satisfactory operating conditions. In total, OSHA cited the rental and repair facility with more than a dozen serious violations, contributing to a suggested fine of $70,000.

Employers are required by law to make sure that equipment and machinery is properly operated and maintained. If they do not follow the manufacturer's guidelines for doing so, they may be held responsible. Anyone that has been injured while on the job should contact an attorney that specializes in workers' compensation, especially if the injured individuals believe that their employers can be held responsible.

Source:  Safety.BLR.com, "OSHA: Tragic crane accident could have been avoided" No Author Given, May. 10, 2013

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