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California airports under scrutiny after fatal on-the-job injury

Hundreds of flights come in and go out of California airports on a daily basis. The men and women who keep things running behind the scenes and make sure that passengers' luggage make it to their destinations are just as much at risk of an on-the-job injury as workers in any other occupation. After the recent death of a worker at arguably the busiest airport in the state, the state legislature wants to discuss the issue.

The 51-year-old man was reportedly driving a baggage cart when he somehow fell off. To make matters worse, he was then run over by another vehicle. The Menzies Aviation USA Inc. employee did not survive the injuries sustained in the accident.

The California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into the incident. This is not the first time Menzies Aviation and Cal/OSHA have crossed paths. Reportedly, the company has been cited on more than one occasion.

This man's unfortunate death appears to be bringing numerous safety issues for airline workers to light -- not only at LAX where the accident occurred, but statewide. Union officials and some California legislators believe these issues bear further scrutiny. The intention to hold hearings regarding the matter was announced at a recent news conference.

In the middle of all of this is a family that lost a loved one, the victim of a fatal on-the-job injury. Compounding this family's grief are the financial issues his death presents to them. Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits are available to the deceased worker's family to help with burial and funeral costs, along with the loss of his income. Knowledge of the workers' compensation system may ensure they receive the maximum amount of benefits available to help them through the financial aspects of this tragedy.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Legislators want hearings into worker safety at California airports, Dan Weikel, March 14, 2014

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