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Lax safety rules lead to warehouse worker death

Pennsylvania warehouse workers understand how important it is to follow all safety rules while on the job. If certain standards are not met, serious injuries can occur. For example, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that a warehouse worker fell 7 feet to his death while standing on a platform elevated by a forklift.

According to the report, the warehouse stored inventory on steel storage racks. In order to reach the top racks, workers commonly stood on a pallet and had a coworker elevate them with a forklift, which is not what the equipment is designed for. The fatal accident occurred when a worker slipped from the pallet and fell to the ground below. OSHA points out that the incident likely happened because the employer failed to provide proper equipment for workers to reach upper storage racks. It also failed to follow manufacturer instructions and allowed workers to improperly use the forklift. Finally, it failed to provide employees with proper forklift training and certification.

In order to prevent similar falls in the future, OSHA recommends that employers prohibit workers from being elevated by forklifts. Instead, workers should be provided with the proper equipment to reach higher levels, which may include personnel platforms with guardrail systems. Employers should also provide proper forklift training for employees.

Fall injuries can cause long-term health problems, including back and spine injuries, leg injuries and head trauma. Most people who are injured while on the job are eligible to file for benefits through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. These benefits cover medical expenses and partial wage replacement. An attorney can often assist with the preparation and submission of the required claim documentation.

Source: OSHA, "Fatal Facts", accessed on Sept. 22, 2017

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