OSHA investigates worker death in Amazon's Carlile warehouse

Any Pennsylvanian who works for a living has the right to expect that his or her workplace is safe and does not present unnecessary risks. Many jobs present some risks, but when extraordinary risks present the possibility of a work related death or injury in the course of a worker's fulfillment of his or her job duties, then the company can and should be held liable if something happens to a worker.

Negligence could ultimately be proven a factor in the early June death of a 52-year-old warehouse worker employed by Amazon in its Carlisle order-fulfillment warehouse. According to investigators, the employee sustained multiple traumatic injuries when the pallet truck she was driving crashed into shelves inside the warehouse. Amazon is reportedly working closely with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate the cause of the accident.

In OSHA's investigation into the recent workplace death, the agency will be looking at whether Amazon violated any safety standards that created dangers to employees and whether such dangers could have contributed to the worker's accident and fatal injuries. Photographs of the accident scene, interviews with managers and other employees, emergency room and other medical reports, videos and other data will be collected to help investigators figure out what happened. Typically, OSHA investigations can take as long as six months. If Amazon is found negligent, the agency will issue citations.

Besides citations from OSHA, an employer can be held liable by the family of any worker killed while on the job. A wrongful death suit can seek compensation for the loss of a loved one to cover both the emotional pain and financial consequences, especially if the victim made a significant contribution to the household finances. A wrongful death lawsuit may result in a monetary award to help a worker's surviving family.

Source: Pennlive.com, "OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse death in Carlisle," Steve Marroni, June 4, 2014

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