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Could a safety violation have caused death of Ohio Honda worker?

Company owners in Ohio and nationwide must provide safe work environments. Safety training is required to keep both permanent and contract workers informed of the multiple safety hazards, such as those posed by forklifts and other mechanical or electronic transport equipment. Following the recent death of a contract worker at the Ohio-based Honda facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation to determine whether the fatality was caused by a safety violation.

A report by the Union County detectives indicates that the 61-year-old worker crossed a walkway between two buildings five minutes after starting his shift. Another contract worker was apparently operating a forklift that was loaded with trash, and he struck the man who was crossing the walkway. It was suspected that the forklift's load obscured the view of the operator.

The injured man was rushed to the hospital, but it was later reported that he was pronounced dead. The Union County Coroner cited the cause of death as a crushed skull. It was also reported that the worker was from another state and was a temporary resident of Ohio to complete his work contract.

Typically, independent contractors are considered self-employed and are not covered by workers' compensation insurance, even if the employer is guilty of a safety violation. In some circumstances, workers are misclassified as independent contractors when the law actually recognizes them as employees. In other cases, the coverage is provided by a temporary employment agency that arranged the contract position. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help to determine the legal status of a victim hurt while working. A lawyer can identify all parties that may bear responsibility and determine what legal steps may be appropriate given the circumstances.

Source: CBS Detroit, "Livonia Man Hit By Forklift At Ohio Honda Facility Dies", Jan. 6, 2016

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