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FedEx driver's death believed to be linked to the brutal cold

Frigid temperatures throughout the Midwest and other parts of the country have resulted in multiple deaths. One fatality believed to be the result of the record-breaking subzero temperatures is that of a Federal Express Freight driver in East Moline.

Another FedEx employee found the 69-year-old man's body outside a FedEx distribution hub between two trucks on the morning of Jan. 31. He was not far from his own car. The temperature in East Moline that day dropped to 33 degrees below zero.

Although an autopsy hadn't yet been conducted on the man, a spokesman for the East Moline Police Department said, "The weather is being considered by investigators as a circumstance that may have played a role in the death."

The facility where the man died had been closed due to the cold the prior day. In a statement, FedEx said that the company is "working with local authorities as they investigate" the man's death. According to the statement, "FedEx has contingency plans in place to ensure the well-being of our team members and service providers. Several of our centers, including the Rock Island center, were closed or running very limited operations this week due to the extreme cold."

Older people aren't the only ones at risk in record-setting low temperatures. A freshman at the University of Iowa who was about to turn 19 was found unresponsive across the street from one of a university building approximately a quarter-mile from his dormitory. He was taken to the hospital, but died there.

While the recent temperatures have been colder than most people can remember ever experiencing, cold weather doesn't have to be this extreme to be dangerous to those who are out in it or even indoors without proper heating. Employers have a responsibility to keep their workers safe from the elements. If they fail to do that, they may be able to be held liable for injuries and worse.

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