While the owners of companies in California have a duty to provide safe working environments for their workers, some incidents cannot be anticipated, even if proper safety management is practiced. However, those employers who disregard the well-being of their employees by ignoring prescribed safety regulations may suffer the consequences as set out by law. Since many workplace injuries are fatal, every on-the-job injury that is prevented may potentially save a life.

A freak accident occurred on a recent afternoon on the premises of a trailer manufacturer in another state. A young man was using a drill while installing trailer floors. For a yet unknown reason, the worker tripped and fell off the trailer. He held onto the drill when he fell and, while a four-foot fall would not typically cause fatal injuries, this one did. The drill-bit stabbed him in the chest; his heart was punctured, resulting in instant death.

It was reported that the police do not suspect foul play, however, an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is underway. The family of the young worker who died so tragically in this unusual accident will likely be facing high funeral and burial bills. In addition, there may be further final costs to settle and the lack of his income may also present financial difficulties for any dependent family members.

Most California workers are eligible to claim benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance fund. It is important to understand that workers do not necessarily have to prove that their injuries were caused by any fault of the employer. However, benefits are limited to medical and/or end-of-life expenses and a percentage of lost income, along with possible financial aid for a surviving spouse in the event of a fatal on-the-job injury. Professional assistance is available for those who find the claiming process intimidating.

Source: sltrib.com, “Clinton man dies in freak drill-bit accident“, Michael McFall, July 17, 2014