All employers - even those that are nationally recognized - are affected by accidents in the workplace. Even when workers undergo the proper training and follow safety protocols, accidents and subsequent injuries can still occur. Unfortunately, these injuries can even lead to fatalities. Well-known retailer Sears is currently dealing with a fatal work-related accident affecting an employee at a New York warehouse.
Police are still investigating the industrial accident, which happened on the evening of June 7. The 35-year-old warehouse worker was working with storage racks when they fell on him. The racks - which held metal, glass and plywood - pinned him down. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, but died about four hours later.
After an accident on the job - especially one that results in death - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will typically come to the workplace and investigate. This is done to determine liability, since the worker is not always at fault for the accident. If the employee lacked the proper training or was not given the appropriate equipment to perform the job duties, then the company could be held liable.
It appears as though this may be classified as a tragic accident with no party at fault. However, if OSHA finds some sort of violation - such as the racks being stacked too high - then Sears could receive a citation and be forced to pay fines. If Sears is considered to be at fault, then the man's family may be able to file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses.
Source: Watertown Daily Times, "Quintilliani dies from injuries suffered in workplace accident at Sears," Karen E. Klein, June 12, 2014