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Recycler fined with $25,000 for negligent operating of machinery

Business owners in New Jersey are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. One of their responsibilities is to ensure only qualified personnel operate equipment such as forklifts. Negligent operating of machinery can cause catastrophic injuries or death in the blink of an eye.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined a recycling facility over $25,000. The penalty followed the conclusion of an investigation into a fatal workplace accident that claimed the life of a 52-year-old worker last December. OSHA investigators determined that the man was crushed by a forklift.

According to the OSHA report, an operator of a forklift allowed the vehicle's one wheel to ride off the loading ramp. He then called a cleaner who was busy in the loading area and asked him to sit in the forklift and press down on the brake. The operator stepped away to fetch equipment to get the wheel back on the ramp. While he was away, the cleaner put his foot on the gas instead of the brake. He was ejected, and the forklift landed on top of him, crushing him to death.

This is just one example of the consequences of negligent operating of machinery. This senseless, preventable death occurred because a worker who was not trained to operate the forklift was asked to do so. When such a tragedy occurs, the surviving family members may pursue financial relief to help them cope with the unanticipated end-of-life expenses and lost income by filing a death benefits claim with the New Jersey workers' compensation insurance program.

Source: nj.com, "N.J. recycling plant hit with $25K in fines over worker's death", Ron Zeitlinger, Sept. 15, 2017

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