Those who work with heavy machinery in Montana know that there are risks involved. Tragically, those risks were fatal for a Butte man who died when an aerial lift overturned in that city recently.
The 46-year-old man was an employee of a Butte rental company that owned the lift. He and another man were in the bucket of the lift as workers loaded it onto a flatbed truck for transportation. For reasons that are unclear from news reports, the lift tipped over with the two men in the bucket. The victim was thrown from the bucket and suffered extensive injuries. He was taken to a local hospital, and then airlifted to a regional hospital, but doctors were unable to save him. The other man in the bucket escaped with minor injuries.
The rental company was cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not reporting the fatal accident within eight hours, as required by law. A thorough OSHA investigation into the incident has begun but will likely not be completed for months.
When a worker is killed in a workplace accident their family is entitled to recover death benefits under Montana’s workers’ compensation system. Benefits include compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses and loss of support. The employer is liable for the benefits regardless of whether the employer was at fault, but workers’ compensation benefits are limited. In some cases, if the accident was caused by workers from another employer, or by a design defect in the equipment, the family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the other employer or the equipment manufacturer. In that event additional damages can be recovered.
Source: KBZK.com, “OSHA investigating fatal lift accident in Butte,” John Emeigh, Oct. 23, 2013