The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently concluded an investigation into the death of an employee of GreenWaste Recovery Inc. in March. The agency says this company was also the subject of three prior investigations that followed injuries suffered in workplace accidents in 2016 and 2017. This company is privately owned, and it recycles commercial and residential trash, demolition and construction rubble and other garbage.
Cal/OSHA initiated the investigation after the death of a worker who suffered fatal injuries when his own truck ran over him. Reportedly, the worker operated a waste collection truck that could be controlled from either the left or the right side. However, such vehicles are required to be fitted with a door, latching or locking bar, strap or a safety chain, to prevent the operator from falling out of the cab.
Although investigators found that the truck from which this worker fell was equipped with a safety chain, it was useless because some parts were missing. With no restraint, upon making a turn, the worker fell out of the cab, and the heavy vehicle ran over him. The truck operator did not survive the crushing injuries he suffered in this workplace accident.
Although Cal/OSHA proposed fines exceeding $46,000, this will not ease the unanticipated financial consequences with which the deceased worker’s family likely had to deal. Not only would they have had to cope with the expenses related to end-of-life arrangements, but also the sudden loss of his income. Surviving family members of deceased victims of workplace accidents need not wait for a Cal/OSHA investigation to be completed before they pursue financial relief. With the help of an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney, they can proceed with the filing of death benefits claims, which will provide compensation to ease the financial burden.