Employers in California are responsible for the health and safety of employees, even when robotics and automated vehicles have replaced many human workers. In facilities where motorized laser-guided vehicles are used, employers must incorporate the safety requirements of the LGV manufacturer into the safety management of the company. Furthermore, human workers who share their workspaces with LGVs must receive safety training on how to avoid workplace injuries.
To demonstrate the dangers posed by LGVs, safety authorities recently described an accident that claimed the life of a warehouse worker who was struck by a driverless forklift. The way these LGVs work in this warehouse involves lasers that are mounted on the vehicles and strategically placed reflectors throughout the warehouse. The driverless forklifts move pallets in the warehouse, and whenever a lift’s sensors detect obstacles or objects in the way, it would sound an alarm and remain stationary until workers remove the obstruction.
On this day, a worker in another area heard the sound of an alarm and unexplained noises over his radio. He went to investigate and found a co-worker slumped over a driverless forklift. When the LGV started moving again, the worker executed an emergency stop. He noticed severe injuries to the victim, who was rushed to a hospital but did not survive.
When workplace injuries claim the life of a worker in California, the surviving family members might be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. These typically include compensation to cover the costs of end-of-life arrangements along with a financial package to make up for lost wages. This could be a daunting task at such a challenging time, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance.