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Work accident claims 1 life at California fuel company

California employers and company owners are responsible for the safety of all their employees. The California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prescribe strict safety regulations in an effort to avoid the occurrence of a workplace accident. Unfortunately, the tendency of some company owners to ignore these regulations could result in an unnecessary work accident with severe injuries and even death.

OSHA recently fined a California fuel distributor $100,000 after a preventable explosion in May that claimed the life of one worker and caused severe burns to another. The investigators determined that the two workers had been ordered to perform welding on a tanker truck that contained crude oil. OSHA said that no prior testing to determine the presence of flammable vapors had been done.

During the investigation, it came to light that the same workers had been involved in another accident under similar conditions in 2012, but they had suffered no injuries at that time. It was also determined that, while involved with a different company, the company owner had been jailed 11 years prior after the death of a worker. In that accident, the worker's death had also been caused by an explosion when welding operations took place in the presence of flammable vapors.

OSHA found that safety procedures were not in place in the recent accident and that the California company had failed to provide workers with training related to the hazards of welding in the vicinity of flammable vapors and combustible materials. Workers who have been injured in a work accident may be eligible to claim benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund to cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages, along with disability compensation in some cases. The surviving family members of the man who lost his life in this case may claim death benefits that would likely provide the surviving family members and any dependents with a financial package, as well as compensation for the funeral and burial expenses.

Source: safety.blr.com, "California fuel distributor fined nearly $100K following fatal explosion", Nov. 13, 2014

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