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Stopping industrial accidents at New Jersey's stone shops

Does your workplace have adequate safety precautions in place to protect employees from falling materials? Even something as minor as a file box can cause serious injury -- but what about those industrial accidents involving larger items? As more and more stone fabrication workshops open throughout New Jersey and the neighboring areas, a growing number of our local employers need to start paying better attention to their safety protocols.

We all know how dangerous warehouse accidents can be; combine forklifts with heavy equipment and poorly trained personnel, and you get a recipe for disaster. A deadly confluence of factors can cause fatal injuries such as the recent crushing death of a New York manufacturing worker. The man, 52, was crushed by two 800-pound blocks of stone that is generally used to make counter-tops. Authorities are still investigating the incident, but the victim's workplace is almost guaranteed a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In addition to those government penalties -- which could include massive fines -- the company that was negligent in this case could be open to a workers' compensation suit. Workers' compensation is not only limited to those who are injured or disabled in manufacturing accidents; family members of surviving warehouse workers can also be entitled to funds. One of the best ways to avoid these penalties is to maintain a thorough safety program that promotes your employees' welfare while they are working with large, heavy pieces of inventory.

Prevent warehouse accidents by making sure that your forklift drivers are adequately trained on the equipment. Further, stone shops should make sure that their forklifts are rated to lift loads as large as a half-ton. Storing the slabs can also present a hazard -- just think of books on a bookcase that fall over because they are poorly arranged. Proper stacking of stone slabs can protect workers from tragic crush injuries. Finally, stone shops should invest in appropriate equipment for handling the stone during fabrication. Those devices could include scissor clamps and vacuum lifters.

Every New Jersey worker deserves to feel safe on the job. A few simple safety precautions can prevent crush injuries, benefiting both employers and their workers.

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