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Workplace accident kills man while working on refrigeration unit

Industrial workers in Louisiana are continually exposed to hazards in the workplace. While employers have a duty to provide safe working conditions, they are also required to keep their employees informed and aware of potential hazards that can only be avoided by practicing safe procedures. Employers and supervisors should avoid a workplace accident by monitoring workers at all times, to ensure that even safety procedures that may seem insignificant are not disregarded.

An industrial worker recently died in a factory in another state. The company where the fatality occurred manufactures refrigeration equipment, and the man was apparently electrocuted while he was working on a piece of equipment. Details about the accident have not been published yet, but an official of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated that the initial investigations led them to believe that the man was working on the equipment without first disconnecting the power source.

The OSHA official emphasized that it is part of safety regulations for the employer or supervisor to make sure that the power feed to a piece of equipment is appropriately disconnected before work commences. In addition, the power source should be tagged as such, to prevent another person from inadvertently reconnecting the electricity prior to completion of the task. In cooperation with the company and OSHA, representatives of the United Steelworkers arrived to assist in the investigation.

Louisiana families that have lost a loved one in a workplace accident may be entitled to claim survivors benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. The workers' compensation system works on a no-fault basis, whereby claims against the employer are not allowed, with exceptions; however, even if the worker was partly responsible for the accident, a claim will still be considered. It is not required to establish evidence of fault on the part of the employer, worker or co-worker. Families that find the claiming process intimidating may find comfort in knowing that there are professionals available who are experienced in handling workers' compensation benefit claims on behalf of surviving spouses and dependent relatives.

Source: stltoday.com, "Worker killed in industrial accident at Bridgeton refrigeration equipment factory", Christine Byers, Sept. 8, 2014

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