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Workplace safety too often addressed only after fatalities

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Uncategorized

Employers in Delaware and across the country often wait for someone to lose their life in a work-related accident before seriously addressing safety issues. Unfortunately, most on-the-job fatalities are preventable. Recently, a 55-year-old tree worker’s death could have been prevented by ensuring workers used their personal protective equipment.

The accident

Workers were on a tree-removal job at a residence. Their strategy was for two workers to use chainsaws for removing larger limbs before cutting down the tree. They used a boom lift to raise them about 20 feet to the height of the branches. They then had to deal with preventing the large limbs from falling and damaging buildings nearby.

Their plan was not to let the branches drop to the ground but to pull them onto the boom lift’s basket and lower them to a safe area. It was challenging, and the boom lift operator had to open the basket’s side access gate to lean out and get hold of the branches. This was when he lost his balance and fell 20 feet to the ground.

Personal protective equipment

Reportedly, the employer brought fall arrest harnesses to the job site but failed to instruct the workers to wear the PPE. Sadly, a simple instruction could have saved the tree worker’s life. Steps to prevent similar catastrophes include adequate safety training, hazard assessment before proceeding with a job and supervision to ensure workers use the provided PPE.

Unfortunately, safety protocols were not followed, and the tree worker lost his life. Delaware families who lost loved ones in workplace accidents might find comfort in knowing that they will be eligible to file death benefits claims. The workers’ compensation insurance system typically provides survivor’s benefits to cover end-of-life expenses and a percentage of the deceased worker’s wages to help the surviving family cope with mortgage or rental payments and day-to-day living expenses.