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Poor worker training cited in case involving heat death

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

In 2004, two men were fixing a pump at a plant when one of them complained of being hot and not feeling well. The other man took him to his car and returned to work on the pump. When he checked on the ill man 45 minutes later, he found him slumped over the wheel. He had died.

The deceased worker’s family filed for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming the man’s death was the result of the hot, humid conditions on the work site and poor training given the co-worker. While much of the trial turned on medical evidence, the court focused on the co-worker’s training.

The court noted the employer should have trained the co-worker to better handle the deceased man’s illness. The court awarded damages to the family.

Note: Companies that send out individuals or small groups to work independently should train workers to watch out for each other. Specifically, workers who do not feel well should not be left alone.

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