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Nationally and in PA, workplace fatalities take terrible toll

In round numbers, fatal workplace accidents take the lives of about 4,000 Americans every year. That's 1,000 more people than died in the terrorist attacks on September, 2001. It's a lot of people's lives cut short - and a lot of families devastated.

Neither workers' compensation nor personal injury claims, as important as they are, can ever bring back any of those lives. But the valuable goal of preventing such accidents by improving workplace safety continues.

In a recent Pennsylvania case, a mechanic was killed by a paving roller. The 55-year-old man was working on the roller when it suddenly lurched. The man was pinned by the roller and died.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the fatal accident. OSHA determined that the company involved had failed to provide proper training on use of the paving roller. The company was Export Fuel, a provider of home heating oil, among other products.

In the course of its investigation, OSHA also found other hazards at the company. The other hazards concerned the risk of falls and dangers of electrocution.

To hold the company accountable, OSHA has proposed $41,000 in fines. It is now up to the company to decide whether to contest the fine OSHA has recommended.

To be sure, not all workplace deaths are easily prevented. This is particularly true of many violent incidents. This week's shooting in a Pennsylvania bar was only the latest example of that. But employers still have the responsibility to keep the workplace as safe as reasonably possible.

Source: "OSHA Seeks $41K Fine In Pennsylvania Paving Roller Facility," Claims Journal, 3-1-13

To learn more about our firm's practice, please visit our workers' compensation page.

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