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Killer Jobs: When a Workplace Accident Leads to Wrongful Death

Most people outside the Armed Forces do not describe their jobs as especially dangerous, but for millions of Americans, dangerous job sites are all in a day's work. Industrial accidents happen every day and often give rise to lifelong consequences, including traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputation and burns. In extreme cases, the result may be the death of one or more employees. Wrongful death claims that involve workplace accidents carry their own particular burden of proof, so understanding the causes of these accidents is an important step toward winning your case and securing the settlement you deserve.

Any discussion of workplace accidents usually begins with construction sites. The incidence of fatal injuries on construction sites is far higher than in most other industrial settings. The reasons for such numbers aren't difficult to understand: these sites are, by definition, constantly changing, and so much heavy machinery is involved that it is not unusual for sudden falls and collisions to result in death. Cranes in particular are frequently causes of these accidents, especially when incorrect operation leads to dropped objects or collisions. Even the cranes themselves can fail and topple, with typically catastrophic consequences.

The second biggest culprit in construction site workplace accidents is scaffolding. Thousands of construction workers rely daily on this ersatz structure to move, work and climb around builds. Scaffolding technology is often erected quickly and snapped together using modular shapes, and any mistakes made in anchoring and security can quickly lead to collapse. Scaffolds can fail without warning, dumping employees to the ground or into other machinery. Or scaffolding can buckle or turn unstable following an impact, creating the conditions for a fatal accident involving glass or power tools.

Factories are another big source of workplace wrongful death accidents. American factories are governed by OSHA regulations, but all too often these regulations are ignored in real-world conditions. The result can be a deadly oversight such as malfunctioning machinery, a chemical spill, a forklift accident or poorly maintained safety equipment. Because so many factory machines operate at high speeds, it only takes one mistake for a worker to lose an eye, a limb or a life. If a factory wrongful death occurs, you will need expert witnesses to testify about proper protocols and what went wrong.

Factory floors are also highly electrocuted places, crisscrossed with wires to power the thirsty machinery at work. Electrocution accidents remain a common cause of factory accidents and deaths for this reason. With so many industrial machines moving material and so much power flowing in close proximity to conductive liquids, any cut or exposed wire can swiftly take a life. Electrical accidents can also cause major burns that become infected and kill a victim days or weeks later. Even slips and trips can prove deadly in a factory setting — with so much oil and grease involved and so many unforgiving exposed surfaces, a serious fall can easily lead to life-threatening injuries.

One final cause of wrongful deaths in industrial settings is the failure to train employees properly on the equipment. Forklifts, cranes, tractors, assembly line machines, threshers and tanks can all be highly dangerous without proper training, and too often the churn of employees in these jobs cuts down on training time to a hazardous degree. Any employee who is not in complete control of the machinery he or she uses every day is in danger, and a large number of workplace accidents could be prevented with more caution and support. The families of employees who lose their lives because of poor management practices can sue the company for penalties far beyond worker's compensation.

Workplace accidents are terrible events, but they are especially agonizing when an employee loses his or her life for a preventable mistake. If your loved one has been victimized in this way, it is important to speak with a wrongful death attorney about the best way to recover a full and fair settlement for your losses.