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Untrained forklift drives suffers fatal work injury

An employee of Menards Inc. -- a home improvement chain with branches across the Midwest, including in Illinois -- believes the employer does not care about the health and safety of its employees. This follows the tragic death of a forklift operator at one of the company's outlets in another state. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's records indicate that this was not the first fatal work injury in this company's history.

Reportedly, a 27-year-old employee who was new to the job lost his life on May 5. Apparently, the employer failed to provide adequate training before requiring the man to operate a forklift. The only training he received was watching a video with operation instructions, observing other forklift drivers and writing a test. The inexperienced driver then had to lift a 16-foot lumber load from a bunk that was between 10 and 14 feet high.

Other workers say the load was too heavy for the forklift, and when it started tipping over, the operator jumped out to escape injury. Sadly, he failed to save himself, and the heavy machine crushed him to death. OSHA investigators have initiated an investigation into this accident to determine whether any safety violations led to the tragedy.

Following any fatal work injury in Illinois or another state, the surviving family members of a deceased employee can seek financial assistance by filing death benefits claims with the workers' compensation insurance system. While this will never fill the void left by the loss, it can ease the financial burden of end-of-life expenses and lost wages. Wage-replacement packages are typically based on the deceased employee's average weekly wage.

Source:, "Worker says Menards was warned about forklifts before fatal accident", Susan Du, May 19, 2017

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