Readers of this blog in Illinois who stay current on issues concerning workplace safety may be interested to read about the fines that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently levied against a company in another state. The company was fined the maximum amount allowed — more than $200,000 — for several violations of safety. Two men died last year in a workplace accident out on the West Coast.
The two men were inspecting the railroad tracks when the accident occurred. They suffered serious injuries and did not survive. The cause of each death was listed as blunt force trauma, according to the coroner’s office.
OSHA officials say the accident was preventable. They claim the person controlling the train at the time of the incident was a trainee who should not have been working in such a capacity without supervision. They say his supervisor was in another area of the train instead of in the control cab with the other man, which was not an acceptable situation.
Officials also say the men should not have been working next to a third rail that was live because they were not qualified to do so. As an illustration of this, one official noted the presence of an aluminum gauge in the area. They say if it had come in contact with the third rail either man could have suffered electrocution.
Company officials say they have updated their safety policies and procedures since the fatal workplace accident occurred. Unfortunately, for the men who died, those changes came too late. Their families, like those of workers in Illinois and elsewhere, retain the right to file for workers’ compensation death benefits. A successfully negotiated claim cannot replace the lives lost, but it could help compensate for any medical bills and lost wages they are now experiencing.
Source: ktvu.com, “Cal/OSHA cites BART in deaths of two workers in Walnut Creek”, Tom Vacar, April 17, 2014
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