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Man loses life in workplace accident, family may sue

Most warehouse workers in Ohio know the dangers of storage a large amount of a product. Large amounts of a product are stocked heavily and, perhaps, to an unsafe height. Negligence on the part of an employer can cause a fatal accident to occur to an employee, if certain safety procedures were not properly followed.

That may be what happened to a 56-year-old man in a recent workplace accident, which found him buried under a pile of pinto beans. If negligence can be proven, the man's family may have the potential for a successful wrongful death suit.

According to reports, a large pile of pinto beans collapsed on March 15 at a warehouse. The man was soon trapped under a pile that was reportedly 15 to 20 feet in height. More than 50 rescuers attempted to dig the man out. After an hour of digging, the team managed to get to him, but he had already suffocated.

Estimates suggest that he was buried beneath several tons of beans. Records show that the man worked for the company for more than 12 years before his death.

The local sheriff's office said that the circumstances that led to this workplace accident are still being investigated. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working with safety inspectors at the warehouse to determine what went wrong.

In order to prove that the man's death was "wrongful," the family may be able to suggest negligence or human error, both of which could find the company that owned the warehouse at fault. Another route could be used to convince a jury that if the victim did not cause the accident and a third party did not cause the accident, it must have been the fault of the company. This argument assumes that the accident does not occur regularly.

Source: Reuters, "CO Man Buried Alive Under Tons of Pinto Beans," Andrew Chow, Mar. 20, 2012

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