Johnson County, Kansas residents are aware that certain professions involve working in a setting where there is always some element of risk. These positions are, in many cases, well compensated, given the additional risk. This does not take away from the fact that the normal discharge of a person’s duty at such jobs could result in serious injury, and even death. There are, however, laws in place guaranteeing that the workplace is as safe as possible; if not, the negligent employer might be liable for prosecution. Such laws come under the purview of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA.
In a recent accident at an oil well, a 43-year-old man from a nearby state was struck by a piece of equipment and killed. The oil and gas company operating the well later identified the man as a worker for a sub-contractor, adding in a statement that the incident was the first of its kind at their site and that the safety of all employees, whether directly employed or otherwise, was a “top priority.” One investigating official said it was “an unforeseen accident.” The cause of the accident is as yet undetermined.
Although the victim’s family may not find much succor in receiving compensation, OSHA laws mandate that employers be suitably insured and thereby pay death benefits, including lost wages, as applicable, following such industrial accidents.
In Kansas, for instance, if employers pay out over $20,000 annually as wages, carrying workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory. The state also appoints an ombudsman to mediate between the victim or his family, the employer and the insurance provider. Most employers are eager to avoid any embarrassment in terms of treating employees fairly and are quick to process payment of such benefits. If the claim becomes disputed in court, the judge could award damages as well, an eventuality employers like to avoid. The victim’s family can seek advice and legal representation in such cases.
Source: WTOV9.com, “Accident at well site claims life of Texas man“, April 7, 2014