A Richmond County worker has been killed in a crane accident at an International Paper wood yard facility.A press release by the company has said that Bill Drake was killed on February 2nd at the plant’s facility on the Mike Padgett Highway.Drake was engaged in clearing wood debris on the tracks when he was struck by the metal cage of the crane. He died at the scene of the accident.
Drake worked as a crane operator, but that particular morning, he had been assigned the task of clearing the tracks. As per normal procedures, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has initiated investigations into the accident.The company seems to have no record of accidents at the plant over the last five years.However, it has been subjected to inspections twice because of complaints.The first inspection resulted in fines for both minor as well as more serious violations, while the second inspection conducted last year did not yield any violations. An investigation by OSHA will likely take months, and it wouldn’t be possible to draw conclusions about the causes of the accident before the findings are out.There are several questions that can be raised about the accident though – for instance, who was operating the crane at the time of the accident? Was it a trained and qualified crane operator?Did Drake receive warnings while he was engaged in the debris clearing work, alerting him to possible danger from the crane?
Very often, workplace accidents are the result of inadequate safety precautions followed by employers as well as other workers at the scene of the accident. Employees need to be properly trained to handle the tasks they are performing, as well as a safe working environment where all safety precautions are followed stringently.
Employees who have been injured in a workplace accident are eligible for a package of compensation benefits under Georgia’s Workers Compensation laws that may include compensation for economic losses like medical bills, physical rehabilitation expenses, medication costs etc.In case of the death of a worker, his family may be entitled to compensation under wrongful death statutes.Here, damages recovered may include funeral and burial expenses as well as wage payments made to the survivors of the deceased over a specified period of time.For obvious reasons, it serves employers best to have to pay out as few benefits as possible. That’s why it’s important to discuss your situation with a Georgia Workers Compensation attorney before agreeing to a benefits package offered by your employer.