The family of a 23-year-old worker who died at the plant of an Ohio plastics manufacturer on July 20, 2016, is protesting his death, urging stricter safety regulations. Although the family believes a safety violation caused their loved one’s death, they are unable to do anything about it. State law prevent them from holding the employer responsible unless it can be shown the employer acted intentionally or was grossly negligent.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified some forklift violations, but none were classified as egregious or intentional. An accident report indicated that the deceased worker was working at a molding machine where he had to move a finished item from the machine onto the forklift platform. The operator of the forklift apparently accidentally pushed a pedal that caused the forklift to move forward and pin the young worker against the molding machine.

The man suffered fatal injuries when his head was crushed. Although two fines were issued for forklift safety violations, OSHA said that the case remains open. However, that does not help the family to find closure. His mother believes more awareness and a constant reminder of her son’s preventable death may protect other workers at the plant.

Any Ohio family who has lost a loved one in a workplace accident is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. An attorney can help pursue recovery of all applicable workers’ compensation benefits. If a family believes that an intentional safety violation caused the death, the attorney can help determine whether an additional claim in civil court may be appropriate and, if so, provide ongoing support and assistance in pursuing financial relief from all parties bearing responsibility for a fatal workplace accident.

Source:, “Middletown family wants more awareness about workplace safety“, Ed Richter, Nick Graham, July 20, 2017