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Cemetery worker killed in work-related accident


Utica residents understand that working around heavy machinery can be dangerous. This is especially true when employers fail to take care of the equipment properly and train employees in its use. However, a work-related accident doesn't need to involve giant industrial or construction equipment to cause serious injury or even death.

Take a recent case from a few hours south of us, where a cemetery groundskeeper was mowing the grass in a riding mower. He had been doing this job for some 25 years, and was nearing 80 years old himself. As he mowed a hillside, the riding lawn mower tipped over and pinned the worker beneath it. The workplace accident proved to be fatal.

Notification of the incident was provided to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. There are some questions, however, as to whether the employee might have suffered a medical problem before the lawn mower tipped over, or whether the accident itself was the cause of death. An autopsy will determine the answer to this question.

Workers who suffer injury in an on-the-job accident may find that inquiries like this are not uncommon. Employers and insurers will want to know whether the accident itself was the result of any medical or other physical conditions on the part of the employee. They may even be an attempt by the employer or insurance company to deflect blame, perhaps seeking to reduce or avoiding paying workers' compensation benefits.

Legal professionals can help ensure that legitimate questions are answered without posing undue burden to the victim. They can also advise clients as to when questions are out of line, and stand up for victims' rights to compensation.

Source: Newsday, "Cemetery caretaker dies after lawnmower accident, police say," July 8, 2015

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