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OSHA cites Colorado scrap metal company for 12 safety violations

An employee of over 15 years at the Atlas Metal & Iron Corp. of Denver, Colorado, died while attempting to repair a metal baler. Because it was a workplace death, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation.

When the investigation was completed, OSHA investigators fined the company $58,410 after recording 12 safety violations. The family-owned scrap metal company that has been in business for 60 years released a statement lamenting the death of its employee.

The 52-year-old man was killed after he approached a metal baler that had stopped working. He intended to repair it, but then it started up again and he was caught in the machinery. The federal investigators determined that the baler had not been turned off correctly. The worker death was therefore ruled as preventable in the OSHA report.

After fatal workplace accidents similar to this one, the surviving family members might have a right to death benefits from the workers' compensation insurance carried by the employer. Although this benefit system is in place, a survivor might still choose to consult with an attorney, particularly when a workplace safety violation contributed to a death. An attorney could help a survivor understand the compensation he or she has a right to claim instead of relying solely on information from an insurance company. Along with funeral costs, the long-term consequences of a household's lost income might also need to be factored into flings. An attorney familiar with workers' compensation cases might be able to help a survivor fully assess financial needs and then advocate for an appropriate settlement.

Source: abc 7, "Denver scrap metal facility fines for worker's death," March 6, 2015

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