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Mother struggles to cope after son died in accident on the job

Losing a 19-year-old child in a work-related accident is a traumatic experience. California residents may empathize with parents in another state who lost their son in July of 2014 and are still struggling to adjust to life without him. The mother wants to create awareness of the fact that workers are allowed to refuse to do a job they believe to be unsafe. She believes that her message will remind employers of their responsibility to comply with safety regulations and, hopefully, prevent future fatal injuries in an accident on the job.

The young man died only two days after starting a new job at a company that does landscaping. After an investigation into the accident, the state's Department of Labor and Industries determined that the company failed to follow prescribed procedures to lock out and tag out equipment during maintenance and cleaning. It was found that the accident could have been avoided if workers were adequately trained in these procedures.

The worker was clearing a jam in the hopper on a truck that was used for distributing bark chips. He fell into the rotating auger and was crushed to death. The investigators classified the company as a severe violator because it was found that its employees cleared jams in running machines on a regular basis. Workers can get entangled in moving parts, such as conveyor belts, rotating rods and augers, resulting in severe injuries and even death.

California workers who are ordered to perform duties in unsafe conditions may want to heed this mother's advice and point out obvious dangers to their employers. Those who have suffered injuries in workplace accidents may claim workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Additional compensation may be awarded in cases in which the injuries caused disabilities. Families who have lost loved ones in an accident on the job may be eligible for death benefits to cover end-of-life costs and a financial package for dependent family members.

Source: heraldnet.com, "Landscaping firm fined $199K in teen's death", Kari Bray, Jan. 5, 2015

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