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OSHA cites Menzies Aviation for violation in the case of worker’s death in February

Menzies was fined for five safety violations, in particular not having  seat belts.

Menzies was fined for five safety violations, in particular not having seat belts.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, part of OSHA, fined Menzies Aviation $77,250 on Wednesday for five safety violations and the death of a baggage worker on February 21 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), according to the Los Angeles Times. On February 21, Cesar Valenzuela, 51, died after being thrown from a baggage tug, which lacked a functional seat belt.

Menzies is an aviation service company that contracts with airlines, providing them with personnel for cabin cleaning, security, cleaning, wheelchair assistance and baggage handling.

CAL/OSHA's investigation into Valenzuela's death revealed that Menzies' safety policy pertaining to baggage tugs did not require, and even discouraged the use of safety belts, which serve as restraints, in certain parts of LAX. Officials also noted, that throughout their investigation, they repeatedly saw Menzies' employees driving baggage tugs without wearing seat belts.

Christine Baker, director of the state Department of Industrial Relations, emphasized: "This fatality could have been prevented with a well thought out and implemented safety plan as is required for all worksites in California."

California authorities also cited Menzies for incorrectly reporting the fatality to Cal/OSHA as a heart attack. The LA Times explains that "companies are required to accurately report work-related deaths within eight hours of their occurrence."

In addition, the citations have led union officials and service company employees to issue calls for improvements to working conditions at LAX, which is the third largest airport in the country.

The citation serves as a reminder to all airline service providers of the importance of providing training programs through a learning management system.

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