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Workplace injuries: Man falls 17 feet into empty sauerkraut vat

Owners of manufacturing plants in Oklahoma have to protect their workers against a score of safety hazards that might be unique to each facility. For this reason, employers must assess workplaces and identify all dangerous areas. All hazards must be addressed to protect workers from suffering workplace injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued nine citations for safety violations after completing an investigation concerning an incident in which a worker fell into an empty vat at a sauerkraut canning facility in another state. This was reportedly the fourth incident involving machine hazards and falls investigated at this plant since 2011. In the latest incident, the worker apparently suffered multiple fractures after falling over 17 feet into the vat.

An OSHA area director said that it is unacceptable for employers to disregard even the most basic safety regulations. He said addressing hazards that should be common sense could have prevented the serious injuries suffered by this worker. The failure to install guardrails to prevent a fall from the elevated platform above the vat, and also neglecting to provide a safety harness that could be tethered to a secure point led to this accident.

Workplace injuries such as those suffered by this Oklahoma worker may have life-altering consequences. Workers' compensation benefits claims may be pursued to cover medical expenses and lost income. If the injuries were debilitating, preventing the worker from continuing his current employment, the insurance program might arrange for occupational training to equip a disabled worker with new skills to enable him or her to continue caring for his or her family.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "WI Sauerkraut Cannery Worker Falls Into Vat", April 19, 2016

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