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Widow of killed sanitation worker helps pass legislation


Although an injury could occur in any type of work environment, some occupations are significantly more dangerous than others. This is especially true for jobs that require workers to use heavy machinery or work in dangerous environments, such as near traffic, at extreme heights or on the water. A dangerous work environment could pose risks to the health and safety of the workers, which requires the employee to take substantial steps to ensure all employees are properly trained and provided with safety equipment. But, even when the proper steps are made, serious and fatal work accidents could still occur, so it is important for employers to keep their safety regulations up to date.

Following a fatal work accident, the widow of a sanitation worker sought to have legislation passed in order to protect workers who risk being struck by vehicles at a worksite. The state Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed the proposed legislation and now requires that drivers slow down to 15 mph when they attempt to overtake or pass a garbage truck that is stopped or has its flashing lights on.

According to reports, the widow who pushed for this legislation lost her husband when he was struck and killed by an oncoming pickup truck that was traveling over 45 miles per hour. Her husband was on-the-job and standing next to the driver's side of the garbage truck when the pickup truck collided with him.

Sanitation workers constantly work around moving vehicles and the number one cause of death for sanitation employees is being stuck by an oncoming vehicle. Passing a bill, like the one in this case, could help prevent future serious accidents and improve safety for sanitation workers.

When a worker is injured or killed on-the-job, they might have a cause of action. The injured worker or the loved ones of the deceased worker could apply for workers' compensation. This could help them recover compensation to be used towards medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages and damages.

Losing a loved one in a fatal work accident can be a difficult event to get through. For some, it could cause serious financial hardships, especially if they heavily relied on their income for financial support.

Source: WV Metro News, "Widow urges senate committee to pass bill protecting sanitation workers," Hoppy Kercheval, Feb. 20, 2014

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