Airport worker death sparks safety investigation
Los Angles readers have likely heard the news about the 51-year-old Los Angeles International Airport baggage worker, who died of a heart attack. The incident reportedly occurred as the employee was driving a baggage tug to pull a dolly at a ramp station. He reportedly fell from the tug and was later found unconscious on the ground.
The man was reportedly an employee of Menzies Aviation USA Inc., which had been cited last June for multiple safety violations. At this point in the investigation, it isn’t yet officially decided what caused the worker’s death. That conclusion could take up to six weeks to be determined.
Sources said the citations Menzies received last June were “serious,” with one being categorized as “willful serious.” These designations refer to the type of violation OSHA deems to have been involved. Serious indicates a hazard that could cause an accident or illness or that would likely result in death or serious bodily harm to an employee. If the employer did not know or could not have known about the hazard, it cannot be deemed serious. A willful violation is one in which the employer knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted without concern for the safety of its employees.
An employer found to be in serious or willful violation of safety requirements and causes injury to employees because of these shortcomings can face penalties. Those who have been injured in such accidents should speak with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to determine their options.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Cal/OSHA opens investigation into LAX luggage worker’s death,” Matt Stevens, February 25, 2014.