In Southern California last week, a Los Angeles County factory employee was fatally crushed in an industrial compactor--giving the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) great concern about the health and safety of the factory's employees.
Efren Monterroso, a 64-year old employee at the factory, was found crushed to death inside a trash compactor at the Southland factory. Investigators believe that the fatal occupational injury occured Monterroso was crushing cardboard at the factory, and ended up inside the machine when it was turned on--although the reason why Monterroso was inside the compactor when it was switched on is unknown and is under investigation. He was pronounced dead by the emergency rescue crew at the scene of the accident.
In the wake of this tragic employment fatality, questions about the safety of the machine, and the safety of workers in the factory arise. According to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, every employer has a legal obligation to maintain and provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. In California, all employees have the right to work in a safe environment and not be discriminated against, or wrongfully terminated if they report safety violations. Southern California employees are protected by law, and should report safety hazards--it is illegal for an employee to be fired or retaliated against for reporting safety violations.
In a 2005 fatal occupational injury survey, conducted by the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), there were 38 machinery accident related deaths in California. Of these California employment fatalities, 19 workers were caught in or compressed by equipment or an object, and 6 were caught in operating equipment or machinery.