Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Sawdust at sawmill traps and kills man in pickup truck

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Few, if any, workers go to the job expecting a workday to be their last day alive. Even so, death on the job is a sudden and horrific reality for hundreds of Americans every year. In Virginia, workers are injured every day because of unsafe working conditions. For this reason, workplace safety is a primary concern for the state as well as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor, both of which have issued guidelines that every employer must follow to ensure the workplace is safe and workers are protected from physical and psychological trauma.

None of this matters now to an employee of the Chips Inc. sawmill near Zion Crossroads in Louisa County, some 15 miles southeast of Charlottesville. The 46-year-old Palmyra man died in his truck when a large volume of sawdust suddenly covered the vehicle. Despite the best efforts of the man's coworkers to free him from his vehicle, the employee was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The Louisa County Sheriff's Office as well as OSHA are investigating the workplace accident. The preliminary investigation revealed that the employee was trapped for no more than five to 10 minutes.

All workplace accidents have the potential to fatally injure a worker. Even when workers survive, their injuries can be devastating for them and their relatives and dependents. Thousands of workers have been left with permanent disabilities, lost limbs and sustained brain and neck injuries as well as fractures.

Fortunately, every state, including Virginia, has some way of compensating victims of workplace accidents for their medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering as well as ongoing medical treatment. Often the relatives of someone killed will seek help from a legal professional in order to get worker's compensation for the injuries sustained.

Source: WTVR.com, "Man killed after sawdust trapped him in work truck," Scott Wise, May 6, 2015

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