Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Fatal workplace fall

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Warehouse workers in Virginia may want to familiarize themselves with the Fatal Fact publications that are released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The publication details workplace safety incidents and provides guidance regarding proper workplace safety practices.

One that was released provides a description of an incident in which a warehouse worker sustained fatal injuries after falling 7 feet from an elevated wooden pallet. The inventory that was kept in the warehouse was stored on steel racks that had shelves reaching 8 feet high. Workers at this particular site routinely used forklifts to raise wooden pallets to the highest shelves so that coworkers could access and move the inventory located there. This is despite the fact that forklifts were not designed for the task. The worker in question lost his footing on a pallet while he was moving inventory and fell to the concrete floor. He was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries some days later.

It was determined that the employer failed to have the necessary controls in place that would have prevented the improper use of the forklift and the fall. The workers were not given the equipment they needed to safely access the inventory located on the top shelves. The employer failed to adhere to the instructions provided by the manufacturer to restrict the use of pallets on forklifts to reach the top shelves. The employees were also not given the proper training and certification to become forklift operators.

People who sustain workplace injuries may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This is generally the case even if the worker was negligent in some fashion. An attorney can often be of assistance with the preparation of the required claim documentation.

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