When an employee dies while on the job, an investigation into the event by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration typically takes place. During this investigation, OSHA will look for potential safety violations that may have led to the accident taking place. While the investigation is ongoing, the family of the deceased victim may want to determine whether they could potentially qualify for workers’ compensation.
A fatal accident in California recently led to UC Berkley being cited by Cal/OSHA. The situation began when a custodial worker was using a lift to clean the upper windows of a building. While he was performing his duties, the lift overturned. As a result, the worker fell over 20 feet and suffered serious injuries, to which he later succumbed.
The incident and subsequent investigation resulted in Cal/OSHA issuing five citations. The citations were reportedly for improperly training employees to operate the lift, not having a manual for the equipment on site and other violations. The university recently filed to appeal the citations, as they feel that the incident was an isolated event with employee error apparently a main contributing factor rather than lack of training.
Whether the citations are successfully appealed, the situation still resulted in an individual dying while on the job. Therefore, the family could potentially be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits due to the loss of their loved one. If a dispute should arise over whether they do qualify for the benefits, they may wish to look into their legal options for pursing workers’ compensation in California.
Source: The Daily Californian, “Campus appeals state citations related to custodian death“, Daniel Tutt, Sept. 26, 2014