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OSHA says fatal work injury to lathe operator was preventable

The prevalence of workplace accidents in which workers in California and other states lose limbs or other body parts is alarming. It is also disturbing that so many people in industrial setups are expected to work in environments in which their health and safety are in jeopardy. During a recent investigation, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that a man suffered a fatal work injury because his employer allowed him to work on a machine on which the safety device was bypassed.

Reportedly, the employee of a company that manufactures tools was polishing a metal cylinder on a computer operated lathe. Although the lathe reportedly had safety interlocks to prevent the operator from making contact with the dangerous spindle, an override was established that prevented the machine from shutting down. OSHA says it is not uncommon for safety devices to be bypassed by manufacturing company owners to avoid downtime that will impact on profits.

OSHA said this man's death was caused by a willful safety violation that was entirely avoidable. Operating machines without proper safeguards and lockout/tagout devices can lead to amputation injuries, the crushing of hands, feet and other body parts, and more. Families should not be left without a loved one because a company disregards safety regulations.

Nothing can fill the void left by the loss of a family member after an incident that caused a fatal work injury. However, financial relief is available through the California workers' compensation insurance system. The surviving family members may file death benefits claims that typically provides coverage for the costs related to funeral and burial arrangements along with a wage replacement package to help with necessary living expenses of the covered dependents during this difficult time.

Source:, "Fatality investigation reveals missing guards at Wisconsin plant", Sept. 14, 2016

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