A 79-year-old man working on a oil rig in western New York was killed recently by falling equipment at his work site. The unfortunate incident occurred on Wednesday, when the older gentleman was working with a group of employees on the rig. The group was "servicing the hydraulic well" when suddenly a number of cables and pulleys snapped, causing the equipment to fall and strike the 79-year-old. He was declared dead at the scene.
There are a few things to know about workplace accidents that this sad story teaches us. The first is that any work accident will be under investigation, and that is standard procedure for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA will investigate the matter and determine fault. Usually this fault will be placed on the company for failing to uphold safety protocols, and the company will likely be fined.
That leads us to the second point, which is that employees have a right to work in a place that is safe and up to date on all necessary protocols and programs to ensure that safety. In this specific case, questions will be asked about the equipment the oil rig was using. Had they inspected the cables or ropes that were holding up the equipment? If the company did, were they purposely ignoring a potential issue to save costs?
Third and finally, any worker who is injured as a result of their employer's negligence should consult an attorney so they can discuss a legal strategy to hold them accountable.
Source: Associated Press, "Police: 79-year-old man killed in western NY oil rig accident; was supervising work crew," Aug. 30, 2013