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California janitor suffered fatal injury on the job

Many people wouldn't necessarily consider working at a grocery store to be particularly dangerous. However, every job has the potential for causing an injury on the job. A janitor in California was found dead recently at the Redwood City Grocery Outlet.

The janitor was found the night of July 11 by someone else that also worked at the store. The lower half of his body was hanging outside a cardboard baler. His upper body had been crushed inside the machine. When emergency personnel arrived at the store, the janitor was pronounced dead. An investigation conducted by police indicates there was no foul play in regard to the man's death.

A preliminary investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has revealed that the man must have been leaning down into the machine when for some as yet unknown reason, the machine crushed him. The machine has been removed from the site in order to be inspected for mechanical defects or some other explanation as to why the man was crushed in the machine. Cal/OSHA has indicated that it could take months for the investigation to be concluded.

Anytime a worker dies from an injury on the job, the family may be entitled to receive survivor's benefits from the California workers' compensation system. In addition, should it be discovered that he died as the result of a defect in the machine, his family may also be able to sue the manufacturer and any other party apart from his employer who may have done maintenance on the machine for wrongful death. It won't bring the man back to his family, but it may help them deal with the financial losses they have incurred as the result of his death.

Source: The Willits News, "Janitor crushed to death by garbage compactor inside Grocery Outlet in Redwood City," Bonnie Eslinger, July 12, 2013

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