While many California workers may associate workplace accidents with industries such as construction work, hazards can exist in any industry, even in restaurants. Because fatalities in the hospitality industry are not a frequent occurrence, the existing safety hazards may not be recognized by owners of such establishments. A student who was hired as a server by a restaurant in another state recently lost her life in an accident on the job in a way that it is likely that no one expected.
The police reported that the student was on duty on the restaurant's second floor where she operated a dumbwaiter that traveled between the first and second floors. It was determined that she had her head inside the dumbwaiter cab when it went down the shaft to the first floor. The company said that the cab could only go down when activated by the operator.
An autopsy report indicated that the student's left cerebellum and brain stem were smashed, causing fatal brain injuries. Authorities stated that no crime was suspected and regarded the incident as an accident. The dangerous dumbwaiter was reportedly removed from the facility the day following the tragic accident.
Most workers in California are covered by workers' compensation insurance, unless they are classified as independent contractors. When a qualified worker is killed in an accident on the job, his or her family members have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to compensate a victim's family for final expenses, including medical, funeral and burial expenses.
Source: weau.com, "Autopsy: Woman's head crushed in dumbwaiter", Andrew Fefer, Amanda Tyler, Dec. 9, 2014