The number of lives that are lost nationwide, including in Colorado, on industrial sites at which the most basic safety regulations are disregarded is alarming. Workers in industrial environments are regularly exposed to occupational injuries by electrical and mechanical equipment that need repairs, maintenance and cleaning. Every company owner knows that such tasks should never be carried out while machines are active, and there should be lockout/tagout procedures in place to protect workers from exposure to unanticipated activation.

A family in another state recently lost a loved one who was a grandmother, mother, sister and wife in a workplace accident that was entirely avoidable. An incident report shows that the 63-year-old woman cleaned a machine while it was in operation. As she was busy cleaning the machine, her hair was reportedly caught by the moving machine parts.

The coroner stated that the worker died from asphyxiation and hemorrhaging and ruled her death an accident. However, this may be a case of a company that prioritized profit over workers’ safety by not having the machine turned off for the time it took to clean it. OSHA will investigate the accident as it does with all workplace fatalities, and the investigators will likely focus on the company’s level of compliance with safety regulations.

During this difficult time, the family members of the deceased worker will have to cope with the trauma and financial complications of end-of-life arrangements. Fortunately, financial relief is available through the death benefits that may be pursued by filing a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance system. The Colorado workers’ compensation insurance program typically provides funds to cover the funeral and burial costs of a worker who suffered fatal occupational injuries. The dependents of the deceased worker may also receive financial assistance with day-to-day living expenses for a designated time, based on the worker’s latest wage level.

Source:, “Parma woman dies in industrial accident”, Karen Zatkulak, Jan. 21, 2016