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Worksite death in Connecticut highlights workplace safety issues

Workplace accidents may result in serious injuries and even permanent disability in some cases. An accident at work may also result in a worker fatality. It is the primary responsibility of the employers to provide their workers with a safe working environment tIn addition, the term workplace is no longer confined to the conventional workplace definition but extends beyond the boundaries of employers' premises or factories. In certain situations, as long as the employee is within the scope of employment, benefits may be available.

Unfortunately, questions of workplace safety surround a recent accident in Connecticut where a 72-year-old man died after suffering crushing injuries to his chest and abdomen. The accident occurred at Sims Metal Management in North Haven, 25 miles from Bridgeport. According to the company's website, it is the largest metals and electronics recycling company in the world.

According to the company's sources, the accident occurred while the man was unloading scrap metal from his flatbed car carrier. Shortly after police and fire personnel arrived at the scene, responding to a report of an unresponsive man, the man was pronounced dead.

According to investigators, the accident involved on-site machinery. However, it is not yet clear who owns the machinery. Police are investigating the incident in coordination with Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA will investigate if there were any violations of workplace safety standards.

In cases where OSHA determines that an employer did not maintain a safe workplace, fines or other actions are likely to be levied against the employer. In addition to taking steps to make a workplace safe, employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Regardless of OSHA action, those injured while working - or the family of those who have died in an unfortunate accident - may be able to pursue a workers' compensation claim depending on the circumstances of the particular incident. This compensation can help those affected cope with the unfortunate results of a workplace accident.

Source: Middletown Press, Durham man killed Wednesday at Sims Metal Management in North Haven, Michael Bellmore, Jan. 10, 2013

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