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In a tragic case of workplace fatality, a 54-year-old Alton man was killed recently when he became entangled in a wood chipper. Exactly what caused the man to become trapped by the machine is not yet known. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting a fatality investigation.

Reportedly, the man and his wife had been hired to work on a tree trimming project. It was not clear at the time of reports whether the man was an official employee of the tree trimming service or if he was a day-laborer. According to police, the truck used to tow the wood chipper had no company name on it.

Also unclear is whether the deceased had been properly trained to use the wood chipper. Such training typically involves the provision of safety information, including instruction concerning the dangers of wearing loose clothing while operating certain machinery. More facts related to these issues will likely turn up as OSHA conducts its investigation. As of now, no charges have been filed against the business or the property owner.

When a person dies as the result of a workplace accident, families of the deceased have a right to know precisely what happened. If a responsible party is found to be negligent, families often pursue civil claims as a way of achieving some measure of solace. As Illinois residents know, funeral costs, lost wages, and medical bills too often burden the families of deceased workers, and no one deserves those added stresses after the tragic passing of a loved one.

Source: bnd.com, "OSHA investigates after worker dies in wood chipper accident," Maria Baran, Nov. 19, 2011

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
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Belleville, IL 62220

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