Minnesota workers may need certain types of tools, equipment and training in order to do their jobs safely. In one warehouse accident that resulted in a fatality investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a man was standing on a pallet raised by a forklift. This was common practice in this workplace in order to reach high shelves. The man fell 7 feet to the concrete floor and subsequently died.
OSHA noted several things that the employer failed to do that might have prevented the accident. Employees did not have equipment that would allow them to get to high shelves. They were not prohibited from using the forklifts and pallets to get to these shelves even though this is against the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, forklift operators were not properly trained and certified. This would have included training on the necessity of a personnel lifting platform to raise workers instead of a pallet.
OSHA also listed several recommendations to prevent future accidents. Among these were the recommendation to have equipment to safely lift workers such as a platform that is used with a forklift but which has fall protection or a high-lift order picker with personal fall arrest equipment. Another was that all employees working on or near the forklift needed safety training.
In addition to OSHA regulations, workers’ compensation is an important tool for worker safety. By taking care of expenses while people recover from workplace injuries, workers’ compensation helps ensure that people get adequate treatment for those injuries and are able to take time to recover. Most injured workers are eligible for workers’ compensation regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Injured workers may want to speak to an attorney about filing workers’ compensation claims or assistance with appeals.