A 48-year-old man died on the job on Feb. 17 in North Versailles. The man reportedly worked for an area tree service and was in a bucket truck at the time of the fall. He was trimming tree limbs at an elevation of approximately 30 feet before he fell. Officials have not released information about how or why the accident occurred.
Individuals in the neighborhood expressed surprise that anyone would be trimming trees during the icy weather. Area officials are investigating further, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also evaluating the situation. Reports do not note whether the individual was using personal protection equipment at the time or whether there may have been an equipment malfunction.
An individual who is working with dangerous equipment or in a high-altitude situation may be provided with safety techniques and equipment to minimize risks while on the job. An accident in a manual labor activity could occur because of unsafe practices on the part of an employee. However, workers’ compensation normally covers work-related accidents even if an employee has inadvertently contributed to the situation through procedural errors. In some cases, medical episodes could lead to an accident. In other cases, the error of one employee could lead to a serious accident that harms another.
Workers’ compensation may provide survivor benefits to the family members of a decedent. However, legal challenges might arise in cases involving a company that has failed to carry proper workers’ compensation insurance. Additional challenges could arise if a company attempts to reject a claim based on alleged worker errors or fault. If such a situation arises, a lawyer may be helpful for pursuing appropriate benefits on behalf of survivors. A lawyer may gather statements from workers, equipment maintenance reports and investigation results from OSHA to support a workers’ comp case.
Source: WTAE, “Tree trimmer dies in fall from bucket truck in North Versailles,” Feb. 17, 2015