The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the tragic death of a worker in Decatur. The man reportedly fell from a collapsing scaffold while cleaning the inside of a tank at the Archer Daniels Midland Company plant, which is a corn sweetening facility.
Rescuers were sent to the plant at about 2:30 p.m., and the 31-year-old contractor was found to be in a confined space. He wasn’t removed from the space until 5 p.m., and shortly afterward he was pronounced dead. According to a coroner, the cause of death was “blunt traumatic injuries and compressional asphyxia of the chest.” The man had suffered a severe chest injury after landing on a metal beam.
Bodine Services, the man’s employer, appears to have contracted with ADM. The Bodine president expressed sadness over the loss his friend and colleague, and the president said that the company had not seen a similar loss in its 52-year history.
As OSHA conducts its investigation, the family and friends of the deceased worker are no doubt looking for answers. The sudden death of a loved one is devastating, and family members of people who die in work-related accidents are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help ease the financial burden that comes after the death.
In the case of scaffolding accidents, investigations often reveal that the scaffolding was defective or improperly assembled. This could mean that negligence on the part of someone besides the employer is to blame for the injury. If that is the case, then the family of a deceased worker could have grounds for a third-party lawsuit beyond a workers’ compensation claim.