Over a month ago, a worker in Pennsylvania was killed in a warehouse accident. The accident occurred in Carlisle, PA on June 4, 2014. Carlisle is located in the middle of the state and is roughly 25 miles outside of Harrisburg.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating this recent accident. OSHA investigates all fatal work accidents such as those occurring at:
- distribution centers,
- storage facilities, and
In fatal work accident cases, OSHA investigations often take months. The purpose of such investigations is to determine the cause of the accident and work with the employer to prevent future work accidents of the same nature.
According to at least one online news report, the worker was a 52 year old woman who was rushed to a local hospital after an accident involving a pallet jack which ran into shelving. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. No other details have been released at this point. Source: www.pennlive.com, OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse death in Carlisle
Pallet Jacks and Forklifts in the Warehousing & Storage Industry
Pallet jacks and forklifts are often used at warehouses, distribution centers and storage facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Pallet jacks, also known as pallet pumps, are electric or manual and are often used to lift pallet loads of up to 5,000 pounds or more. Likewise, forklifts are also used to move pallets, but have a broader use and can handle larger items like steel drums.
Work Accidents Involving Pallet Jacks and Forklifts
The warehouse and storage industry is one of the largest industries in Pennsylvania, but also has a higher than average work accident rate. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania’s warehouse/storage industry has an 8.2 injury rate (8.2 injuries per every 100 full time workers). This is significantly higher than the national work injury rate of 3.4.
Workplace equipment accidents at warehouses, distribution centers and storage facilities often involve equipment like pallet jacks and forklifts. Oftentimes, the injuries are fatal, as indicated by this most, tragic accident.
Work Accident Compensation
Workers injured in work related accidents in Pennsylvania will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This applies to family members of workers who are killed in work accidents. Specific benefits are laid out in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and usually include medical treatment, indemnity (disability pay), and in death cases, survivor benefits.
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, some work accident cases will result in lawsuits for negligence which led to an accident. For instance, in the case of this pallet jack accident, it is certainly possible that the pallet jack malfunctioned and in which case, there may be a valid product liability claim. Also, the pallet jack may have been improperly maintained, and if so, there may be a valid claim against a company which maintains the equipment.
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