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OSHA probes Pennsylvania death at Amazon facility

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that the federal agency has launched a probe into a fatality at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Carlisle. The workplace accident transpired on June 1, when a 52-year-old female employee died while operating a pallet truck inside the Amazon facility.

On June 4, OSHA stated that the agency's Harrisburg office will be in charge of the investigation, which could take as long as six months to complete. According to OSHA, such probes involve, among other things, taking photos, recording videos, interviewing staff and collecting information relevant to the case. Consequently, the agency will determine if the company was in violation of any safety standards associated with the workplace fatality. The federal agency possesses the authority to cite the company in the event that the investigation uncovers safety violations.

According to Amazon, the company will comply with OSHA while it investigates the fatal accident. According to the Cumberland County coroner, the 52-year-old employee died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries.

People who suffer serious injuries in the workplace are often left with more than just physical pain. They must often cope with economic stress in the aftermath of the accident as well. That is because hospital bills, prescription medication costs and expenses associated with rehabilitation and therapy can accrue in an intractable fashion, and they may be even more difficult to manage if the victims' injuries prevent them from returning to work and earning a paycheck.

However, workers' compensation laws in Pennsylvania allow employees to receive compensation benefits if they are injured at work. Furthermore, the families or dependents of workers who die on the job may receive death benefits via workers' compensation. The death benefits may include a percentage of the decedent's weekly or monthly income.

Source: The Patriot-News, "OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse death in Carlisle", Steve Marroni, June 04, 2014

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