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Cal/OSHA says LAX worker's death was preventable

After an investigation by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or Cal/OSHA, the death of a California airport worker was determined to be the result of employer safety violations. The 51-year-old man suffered fatal workplace injuries at Los Angeles International Airport when he was thrown from a tow tractor and pinned beneath a tire. At the time, the man was working for Menzies Aviation and operating the vehicle with no seat belt in place.

When a Cal/OSHA safety inspector visited LAX to look into the cause of the accident, several tow tractor drivers were seen working without seat belts. After looking through a written safety guide maintained by Menzies Aviation, Cal/OSHA determined that workers were not required to wear seat belts while driving around aircraft parking areas and airport gates pulling luggage and cargo trailers.

Cal/OSHA found further evidence that Menzies Aviation discouraged the use of seat belts by their workers. During an inspection of the deceased man's tow tractor, investigators determined that a portion of the original restraint system on the vehicle had been removed. A spokeswoman for Cal/OSHA has stated that Menzies Aviation could have prevented the worker's death by instituting a safety plan. The company was issued three serious citations for accident-related violations of safety standards and fined $77,250.

An individual who survives a work-related accident may file a workers' compensation claim in order to receive reimbursement for their medical expenses and missed workdays. If an investigation determines that the accident was a result of severe negligence, a worker might have a case for seeking additional compensation through third party claims. An attorney may be able to help an injured worker with this process by first determining what entities are liable for their injuries.

Source: EHS Today, "Death of LAX Airport Worker Leads to Cal/OSHA Citations", Josh Cable, August 20, 2014

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