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Death benefits may provide financial relief after worker's death

Workers in the agriculture industry in Ohio are exposed to a host of safety hazards on a daily basis. Lives are sometimes lost in circumstances that could have been avoided, leaving surviving family members with many unanswered questions. Death benefits may be pursued through the workers' compensation insurance system. Although money may ease the financial burden, it will likely not relieve the emotional loss.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently reported on an investigation that followed the October death of a 32-year-old employee of a soil enhancement company in Clyde. According to an incident report, the worker was present when liquefied pig manure was being pumped into a tanker. He was apparently unprotected against the toxic hydrogen sulfide gas that is typically emitted by liquid manure.

The worker was found unresponsive, and he was later declared dead. A director in the Toledo office of OSHA said the dangers related to the deadly gases emitted from manure are known to company owners in the agricultural industry. The safety requirements are also well-known, including the requirement for properly fitted respiratory protection and engineering controls. Also, this company reportedly failed to establish a hazard communications program and train workers to use it.

Had the employer only complied with safety regulations, this Ohio family would not have had to bury a loved one. The surviving family members can file claims for death benefits with the workers' compensation insurance system. It typically provides assistance with covering the costs of end-of-life expenses. Also, a financial package based on the deceased worker's average wage level will be awarded to assist the victim's dependents with financial obligations for a specified time following the tragedy.

Source: thenews-messenger.com, "Pig manure killed Sandusky County worker, OSHA says", Rebecca R. Brooks, April 7, 2016

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