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Family members may seek workers' compensation death benefits

In May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined an auto manufacturing company $500,000 for disregarding safety regulations and allowing hazards to exist at its Ohio plant. This willful safety violation led to an amputation injury in which a worker lost his one hand and a portion of his arm. Although the victim can pursue workers' compensation benefits, his life and income potential will never be the same as before.

The same company reported the death of an employee on a recent Saturday evening. OSHA has launched an investigation into this fatal workplace accident. Reportedly, a 44-year-old woman suffered deadly blunt force trauma injuries while operating a machine at the auto manufacturer's facility in a neighboring state. A former employee says she is not at all surprised that a machine caused a fatality because she was put on the production line with instructions to operate dangerous equipment without receiving any training in operation or safety protocols.

This woman says she worked with the deceased victim earlier this year. However, she says she decided to quit rather than putting her life on the line daily in an unsafe work environment. The facility makes auto parts for GM and Ford, and although OSHA shows no prior safety violations at this plant, records for the past four years show 33 safety violations at other plant locations of this company.

The Ohio workers' compensation insurance program offers benefits to employees who were injured in on-the-job accidents. Medical expenses and lost income are typically covered, and those who suffer catastrophic injuries such as amputations that will prevent them from returning to the same job can apply for additional benefits. Surviving family members of a worker who succumbed to workplace injuries may seek death benefits to help them cope with end-of-life expenses and lost wages.

Source: wdrb.com, "OSHA investigating workplace death at Jeffersonville manufacturing plant", Hayden Ristevski, Oct. 23, 2017

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