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Injured worker claim for deceased employee spurs investigation

When a fatally injured worker claim is made, a California employer may face a series of investigations, potential fines and an increase in insurance premiums. A business may wish to review the situation surrounding the injured worker claim and begin looking at its legal options. A young woman recently lost her life after suffering a head injury from being trapped inside a dumbwaiter at her place of employment.

A dumbwaiter is a small elevator that is generally used to transport food or other small kitchen and restaurant items up and down between staff. The size and structure of a dumbwaiter is not designed to hold a person and is not intended for human occupation. Reports indicate that the deceased victim became trapped inside of the food elevator and suffered fatal crush injuries to her skull.  

Federal and state officials have started an investigation into the tragic situation and believe that the accident did not involve any additional people. Reports indicate that the accident may have resulted from the woman reaching inside the elevator for something at which time she may have accidentally pressed a button setting the elevator into motion. The accident was tragically overlooked until a kitchen employee later received the dumbwaiter and found the young woman lying inside.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is generally responsible for the investigation of workplace fatalities and, in this case, may be working alongside state agencies that oversee the regulation and inspection of mechanical equipment and local law enforcement. A California business involved in a similar situation may look to a professional to help prove its mechanical equipment was in good working condition as a defense against any citations it may face in connection with an accident. A business owner may seek help protecting his or her assets after a fatally injured worker claim is made to state and federal authorities.

Source: New York Daily News, "Wis. gymnast died of severe head trauma inside dumbwaiter", Nicole Hensley, Dec. 10, 2014

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