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Workplace accidents can be tough for Massachusetts workers

Workplace accidents can leave hard-working Americans struggling with the aftereffects of serious injuries. One Massachusetts worker recently found out just how devastating workplace accidents can be. The forklift operator was busy moving large planters across a downtown sidewalk when a section of the sidewalk collapsed, and the heavy machine fell into a cellar.

The injured man was taken to an area hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause of the accident. The director of public works for the city the accident happened in reportedly admitted that the hefty forklift should not have been used on city sidewalks. According to him, it's possible that the sidewalk collapse could have occurred because the cellar that the forklift plunged into once served as an underground coal chute.

It's unclear if the man had authority to use the forklift on his own, or if he was instructed by a supervisor to use the forklift on the unsafe sidewalk.

City officials have covered the hole from the forklift accidents with steel plates. These will evidently remain over the hole until the sidewalk can be inspected.

Workplace accidents like the one in this Massachusetts case demonstrate how vital it is for employers to maintain high standards for worker safety. Should it be proven that the forklift was improperly operating on city sidewalks, OSHA could conceivably impose fines, as appropriate. Fortunately, since the man was injured on the job, workers' compensation benefits are likely available to help with any medical bills or costs associated with this particular accident, including lost income from work while he is on the mend.

Source: MassLive.com, "OSHA probing accident in which forklift plunged through section of sidewalk on Main Street in Springfield," George Graham, July 4, 2012

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