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Possible safety violation: Newly married dad-to-be killed at work

Because of the inherent dangers present in most Ohio workplaces, company owners must assess facilities and address all known hazards. Committing even one safety violation can cost the life of an employee. In a tragic workplace accident last month in another state, a man who was awaiting the birth of his first child lost his life.

The man -- who had only been married since November -- was reportedly employed by an agricultural science concern where he was helping a co-worker to empty a molasses vat by pumping out the contents. The level of the molasses in the 12-foot tall tank dropped below the pump's valve, and the soon-to-be father decided to get into the tank to adjust the valve. He apparently geared up in wading boots and donned a safety mask. With the help of straps and a forklift, he was lowered into the vat.

A co-worker said the man managed to fix the valve; however, as he grabbed hold of the straps to get out something went wrong. Unresponsive, he became submerged in the sticky, syrupy substance. Co-workers managed to get him out by sawing into the tank. However, by the time he was extricated, he had reportedly been submerged for approximately four minutes, and it is believed he got some of the molasses in his lungs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation to determine whether a safety violation might have led to this man's death. Such a tragedy is understandably devastating to the surviving family members -- not only emotionally but also financially. In Ohio, surviving family members may pursue claims for death benefits through the workers' compensation insurance program. End-of-life expenses will be covered, and a financial package to assist with the daily living expenses of the dependents of the deceased worker is typically included as part of the benefits.

Source: pix11.com, "Soon-to-be-dad dies in molasses vat at work", Aug. 7, 2016

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