Anytime employees are working with heavy equipment there is a risk of injury or death. Tragically, this risk became fatal reality recently for a 64-year-old Billings man who was killed while working at his job at a local vehicle repair business.
The man was working on a heavy-duty tow truck with the cab raised above him. The cab fell suddenly, causing a fatal crush injury. According to a news report, the cab may have fallen due to a mechanical failure. The accident occurred on a Sunday; the man’s body was not discovered until Monday morning. The Yellowstone County Coroner’s Office identified the man.
Police investigators concluded the man’s death was an accident. Two days after the tragedy the Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened a separate investigation. OSHA has the responsibility of investigating on-the-job fatalities. The employer is obligated to report a workplace death within eight hours, which the company did in this case. The employer is cooperating with OSHA in the investigation, which is expected to be concluded in under six months.
When a worker is killed on the job, family members can suddenly find themselves in a financially desperate position. The worker’s spouse and children will no longer have that person’s income to support them. Fortunately, Montana’s workers’ compensation system provides death benefits that can help a family deal with the economic consequences of a loved one’s death. And, if the fatal accident was caused by the negligence of a third party other than the employer, the family may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover additional damages.
Source: Billings Gazette, “OSHA to investigate workplace death of man who died at J.H. Motors,” Jordon Niedermeier, Nov. 29, 2016