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An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the death of a man in an industrial 35-foot-long pressure cooker resulted in charges against Bumble Bee Foods, a plant operations director and the former safety manager. The worker died in the Santa Fe Springs plant. Another worker did not know he was inside the cooker cleaning it when he filled it with 22,000 pounds of tuna.

The pressure cooker reached a temperature of 270 degrees after being turned on. During this time, a supervisor noticed that the 62-year-old victim was missing. Workers found his body two hours later when the tuna cooker was opened.

According to Los Angeles prosecutors, the charges specify that the two managers, along with the company, did not enforce a safety plan or establish rules for workers in confined spaces. If convicted, the managers could face a possible three years in prison plus fines up to $250,000. Fines against Bumble Bee Foods could reach as high as $1.5 million.

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California residents may have noticed that the number of high-rise construction projects being undertaken in the stare has increased recently as the economy slowly recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Many of these projects use scaffolding systems that are raised or lowered mechanically because they are simple to put into place and relatively easy to dismantle after the work has been completed. However, the systems were developed after OSHA implemented its scaffolding safety rules, and some safety experts feel that protocols should be updated in light of the new technology.

Mast-climbers are platforms that are raised or lowered after being attached towers connected to the wall of a building, and they are often used by window installers or masons to perform finishing work. However, the systems are complex to use, and workers require specialized training before they are able to operate them safely. Some observers have speculated that a lack of this type of training may have contributed to a March 2015 construction accident in North Carolina that claimed the lives of three Latino construction workers.

The North Carolina accident also brought attention to a disproportionate injury rate among Latino workers in the construction industry. It is believed that language barriers on construction sites may contribute to a higher number of workplace injuries among Latinos, and some point out that these workers are sometimes reluctant to file complaints about unsafe conditions.

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Workers in certain occupations are at a greater risk of getting injured on the job, but they accept the risk and go to work anyways. Construction accidents, in particular, are all too common in America, despite all of the efforts undertaken to make worksites safe for workers. An unfortunate example of the risky nature of construction worksites popped up in the news recently from an incident in nearby San Leandro.

According to the reports, a 48-year-old man was killed on February 13 when a piece of heavy equipment that he was repairing fell on him and crushed him. The equipment was reported to be what is known as a "front-end wheel loader," which is used to move heavy objects. Initial details of what caused this construction site accident were scarce, but there will be an OSHA investigation. Hopefully the investigation will reveal more information as to how this unfortunate accident claimed the life of the mechanic.

Any work accident victim can probably expect to deal with some major setbacks. First, if the injured worker survives the accident, they will need to focus on their medical treatment and rehabilitation. Second, and just as important, is figuring out a way to deal with all of the unexpected medical expenses. In the long run this second issue can actually become the most troubling result of a workplace accident, especially if the worker is fortunate enough to make a full recovery from physical injuries.

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Companies and employers are often focused on the bottom line more than anything else. This means that their goal to make a profit may come at the expense of other things, such as worker safety. For construction workers, risks often arise when the workers are pressured to complete a job more quickly to meet a deadline or when safety standards are not upheld. Unfortunately, construction accidents can have serious negative effects on employees, including severe injury and permanent disability or even death.

In June of this year, a subcontractor for an elevator company was killed while working at the site of the new 49ers stadum in Santa Clara, California. His death was caused by being hit by a counterweight of a freight elevator. As a result of his death, the elevator company was recently cited by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health for three safety violations. One violation related to the lack of a injury and illness prevention program. The other two violations related to failure to enclose and guard the counterweights, which exposed employees to dangerous hazards. In total, the violations carry a fine of $54,000.

When employers fail to implement safety programs, properly train employees, ensure that the worksite is safe and properly protect against hazards, injuries and fatalities often result. Workers' compensation benefits attempt to financially protect employees who are injured on the job, but it is not always easy to obtain the compensation that is needed or deserved. In addition, sometimes workers' compensation alone is insufficient to address the egregious nature of the employer misconduct or negligence that caused the accident.

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