Many workplace accidents nationwide, including in Colorado, are avoidable and occur because employers fail to take the necessary precautions to protect workers against safety hazards at their places of work. However, now and again, a worker suffers a workplace injury that could not have been anticipated. Such incidents sometimes happen in times of extreme weather conditions, as was the case when a worker in another state recently lost his life.
This tragedy occurred when a 52-year-old lineman in the employ of a utility company traveled to restore electricity after heavy rainfall. Apparently, over seven inches of torrential rains washed away a 30-foot section of the roadway after a culvert for stormwater runoff collapsed, creating a huge sinkhole. The sinkhole that was approximately 30 feet deep was reportedly not visible as the man driving the utility vehicle approached it.
The vehicle was reportedly loaded with tools, a ladder, gear boxes and other equipment required for the job he was going to do. When it fell into the sinkhole, the cab was crushed into the body of the utility truck. Accident investigators suspect that the worker was killed on impact. The worker leaves behind a wife and two children.
Regardless of whether a fatal workplace injury was caused by another person or by a known or unforeseen hazard, the deceased worker’s dependents may be entitled to pursue survivor benefits with the Colorado workers’ compensation insurance fund. Covered dependents will typically received financial assistance with end-of-life costs. Compensation usually also includes a financial package to assist with day-to-day living expenses and monthly obligations. The value of this will depend on the deceased worker’s wage level immediately prior to the fatal accident.
Source: ect.coop, “Illinois Lineman Dies in Sinkhole Accident“, Derrill Holly, July 21, 2015