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Safety protocols cited in California worker's workplace accident

A California baggage worker’s fatal workplace accident has resulted in an investigation and hefty fine of $77,250 by officials at the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA.

Officials believe the accident occurred because local policy at the LAX airport did not require baggage tug operators to use seat belts. Regarding the particular vehicle involved in the workplace accident, Cal/OSHA inspectors claim a portion of the vehicle’s seatbelt was actually missing. In addition to faulty equipment, officials say the worker’s employer, a service company that contracted with the airlines, should have had better inspection procedures in place.

 

In the event of an on-the-job injury, it is important for a worker to take the necessary steps in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Some claims may have a limitations period, so it is best not to delay. In addition, it is also advisable to consult with an attorney that focuses on workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney may have strategies for obtaining a fair result.

For example, it may be advisable to seek an independent medical examination, rather than relying solely on the physician provided by the employer. A second opinion may provide better leverage in obtaining all of the compensation needed to cover treatments and lost wages.

Readers may also be unaware that initial workers’ compensation claims can be denied. In that event, an attorney can work with an employee to prepare a strong appeal before the applicable authority. The appeal process may even reach the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, a seven-member judicial body that hears petitions from the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Cal/OSHA fines aviation company in death of LAX baggage worker,” Dan Weikel, Aug. 20, 2014

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