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Factory accident: Surprise start-up of concrete mixer kills man

Workers at industrial plants in California are typically exposed to many safety hazards related to heavy machinery and equipment. The same goes for workers in other states, and learning of an industrial worker's death in a preventable factory accident is always tragic. A 23-year-old employee of an out-of-state manufacturer of concrete products such as pavers and retaining walls recently lost his life in such an accident.

An incident report indicates that the worker entered a concrete mixer to recover an item when the industrial mixer unexpectedly activated. The sheriff's office and investigators from the the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the man's death. The company was reportedly asked not to discuss the incident until more information is available.

However, a former worker of the company told reporters that the fatal accident did not come as a surprise because the particular concrete mixer was known to start up unexpectedly. He claimed that the equipment in the plant at which the worker died had long been hazardous to operate due to the machinery being outdated. He also said that, during his time of employment at the company, the unexpected activation of the concrete mixer was reported multiple times, but the response was always that all the machines were due for replacement. Workers were apparently told that the plant would close down for replacement of the dangerously old equipment, but it never happened.

It is naturally heartbreaking to learn that a loved one's death in a factory accident was preventable. To assist with the high costs of a funeral and burial, the surviving family members of a worker who died in an on-the-job accident may pursue claims for workers' compensation death benefits. The California workers' compensation insurance program offers coverage of end-of-life expenses along with additional financial assistance to help dependents with daily expenses and obligations such as rent or mortgage payments. This financial package is typically based on the deceased worker's average weekly wages.

Source: abc-7.com, "Lehigh concrete mixer had long mechanical history, ex-employee says", April 14, 2016

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