Bulldozer Accident Kills West Virginia Worker

Jan 2013

On January 14, 59 News WVNSTV reported that a worker was killed near the  Loveridge Preparation Plant in West Virginia. The death occurred when a bulldozer rolled down the hillside and trapped the worker. The bulldozer has a weight of 18,000 pounds and although law enforcement responded to the accident scene, the worker could not be saved.

Our West Virginia work injury attorneys were sad to hear of the death of this worker in such a tragic accident. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a worker has been crushed by equipment on a work site and it likely will not be the last. Workers and employers should make every effort to ensure that these incidents do not occur, and safety procedures should be put in place to protect workers from being harmed by the equipment they are using to do their jobs.

Crushing and Back-over Injuries at Work

When a worker is killed as a result of being trapped under equipment, the injury could be classified in several ways. It could be considered a back-over accident, which is an accident that happens when a car or a piece of equipment rolls backward and crushes a worker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 79 workers lost their lives in 2011 as a result of back-over incidents.

The worker’s death in such a situation could also be considered a “crushing” injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 84 workers were killed in 2011 as a result of being crushed by a falling structure or being crushed under equipment or materials. The bulldozer in this tragic case rolled several times down a hill, trapping and crushing the worker.

Both back-over and crushing accidents are tragic situations that should not occur in workplaces. It is up to employees to be careful about their safety and up to employers to have safety policies and precautions in place to prevent these tragic accidents from happening.

Protecting Workers from Harm

Regardless of how the bulldozer accident is classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is clear that something went wrong on this worksite and that it led to the workers’ death.

To prevent more incidents like this from occurring, employers need to ensure they are following OSHA guidelines for:

  • Equipment maintenance
  • Equipment use
  • Training for those operating equipment

It will also be important to investigate the specific cause of this accident to determine why the bulldozer rolled down the hill. If the problem was not with the employer’s safety procedures or with the operation of the bulldozer, then the incident may have been caused by a defect in the bulldozer itself. If this was the case, then the manufacturer of the bulldozer could potentially face a personal injury lawsuit by the surviving family members of the injured worker. If the incident occurred as a result of the employer, on the other hand, then a workers’ compensation claim could be made by surviving family members to obtain death benefits on behalf of the deceased worker.  The ability to obtain compensation or benefits is very important to financially protect family members of workers who are killed.

If you’ve been in a workplace or equipment auto accident in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE.

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