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Workers' compensation likely applies to family of deceased worker

Police officers, firefighters and soldiers know that there is some degree of risk associated with their jobs. Although not the same obvious level of danger, almost all jobs hold some degree of risk of injury or even death. As a result, most employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage in the event of an accident. The family of a man employed by a company based in Maryland likely qualifies for such coverage after a fatal workplace accident.

In mid-January in a northeastern state, a 35-year-old employee of Sea Watch International was cleaning a machine that shucks shellfish. Reports indicate that the man became caught in the engine of the machine. The fire department responded.

Police say that the fire department had to dismantle the equipment and worked over an hour to free the man. Unfortunately, he died at the scene. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an investigation into the incident. OSHA will work to determine if any safety standards were violated leading up to the incident, and, if so, what sanctions may be appropriate.

The unexpected death of a loved one can have a devastating impact on a family. In addition to the emotional implications, the family will have to cope with the financial stresses created by such a death. For example, the family of the deceased man will have to deal with funeral costs as well as the loss of the man's income. Workers' compensation coverage in Maryland and elsewhere helps with costs associated with an accident. In the event of a workplace fatality, such benefits generally extend to the employee's family members; however, the process of obtaining rightful compensation is sometimes complicated and lengthy.

Source: The Boston Globe, Man dies in shucking machine accident at New Bedford seafood plant, Maria Sacchetti and Catalina Gaitan, Jan. 17, 2014

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