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Safety violation may have caused fatal rail yard accident

Ground workers at railroad transportation companies nationwide, including here in Ohio, face multiple dangerous situations on a daily basis. Business owners must assess workplaces for potential hazards, and this includes regular maintenance on equipment to prevent malfunctions that can cause severe or fatal injuries. One worker's death at a rail yard in another state is under investigation to determine whether a safety violation occurred.

The worker -- whose identity was withheld until his next of kin were informed -- was apparently operating a motorized crane-like container handler with which he hoisted a storage container for transport. Unconfirmed reports indicated that a wire on the lift broke, causing the crane to collapse and the heavy container to fall. It apparently fell onto the cab of the crane in which the operator was sitting.

The worker did not survive the crushing weight of the container. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reportedly launched an investigation into this workplace accident. The agency reported that it had cited the same company for unaddressed crushing hazards in August 2014.

This seemingly still unaddressed safety violation might now have been the cause of a worker's death. The victim's surviving family members will likely face financial hardships as the result. Fortunately, as in Ohio, this family will be entitled to pursue death benefits through their state's workers' compensation insurance system. Although a monetary award will never replace the life that was lost, it may ease the burden caused by unanticipated end-of-life expenses and other necessities in the lives of the covered dependents in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Source: nj.com, "Worker at Jersey City rail facility killed when container falls on him", Patrick Villanova, Aug. 16, 2016

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