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Safety violation may have caused crane inspector's fatal fall

A 62-year-old Ohio grandfather of six and father of four tragically died in a workplace accident on a recent Friday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation that will likely focus on the company's compliance with regulations and will try to determine whether a safety violation contributed to this fatality. The incident apparently occurred on the premises of the Whirlpool plant in Marion County.

Reportedly, the victim was an inspector of a crane servicing company. He was standing at the top of the working crane, trying to troubleshoot mechanical problems that had been experienced by the operator. Eyewitnesses say they saw debris falling from the area where the inspector was standing moments before they saw him fall.

OSHA said the man was wearing fall protection at the time of the incident. An employee of Whirlpool apparently tried to pull back on the safety harness to arrest the fall but failed. Investigators will examine the fall harness and other equipment that the man was wearing when he fell to his death.

Tragedies such as this are unacceptable because, in most cases, workplace accidents are avoidable. Employers are responsible for providing fall protection to all employees who work at heights. Monitoring the condition of fall protection equipment is vital, and providing damaged equipment to employees is a safety violation. The surviving family members of this Ohio man can pursue financial assistance by filing death benefits that will cover end-of-life expenses and lost income through the workers' compensation insurance program. The wage-replacement package is typically based on the injured worker's basic income.

Source: marionstar.com, "OSHA investigating worker death at Whirlpool", Spenser Hickey, Sept. 23, 2016

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