A steamroller is a type of heavy equipment used in construction for leveling surfaces. The name “steam roller” has stuck even though these machines are generally diesel-powered. Roller machines are large and heavy but generally move slowly. They may not seem like they would be very dangerous but every year people are injured or killed in steamroller accidents.
Fatal Delaware County Road Roller Accident
In September, a worker doing road construction in Delaware County was killed in a road roller accident. A construction crew was doing roadwork in the Ridley Park area when a contractor was killed by the heavy machinery.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) tracks accident statistics for on-the-job injuries. However, the records for roller construction equipment accidents may not account for all accidents and deaths because they may have been under a different classification or injured someone other than an employee.
Bensalem Fatal Steamroller Accident
Last year, a man in Bensalem was crushed and killed by a steamroller. According to the OSHA report, the employee was doing machine maintenance while standing between the roller and another piece of heavy construction equipment. The employee was testing the brakes when the brakes failed, moving forward. The 37-year-old man was crushed between the machinery and killed.
Roller Driver Killed by Machine
Earlier this year, a worker was run over by a steamroller he had been operating. The 19-year-old worker was rolling asphalt across a road in Oklahoma when he noticed some fresh asphalt on the front tires of the roller. The driver hopped off while the machine was still running in order to remove the asphalt with some diesel fuel. The driver fell and was crushed by the roller.
Family Claims After Fatal Workplace Accident
Injuries that happen on the job may be handled differently than other personal injury cases. In most cases, an employee who is injured on the job is covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp is a “no-fault” program where the injury victim does not need to show negligence in order to get compensation. However, the worker is also limited in their recovery to medical bills and partial wage replacement.
Some workplace accidents may still be covered by personal injury claims to allow the victim to recover non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of support. This is generally limited to non-employees injured on a worksite, such as a contractor, delivery driver, or bystander. Injury victims may also have more options for recovery if they were injured because of intentional actions on the job, like victims of workplace violence.
In a fatal workplace accident, the surviving family members may be able to file a workers’ comp death claim for compensation. Like with an injury claim, compensation for an on-the-job fatal accident is more limited than a wrongful death claim. However, there may be circumstances that allow the family to file a wrongful death claim instead of going through workers’ comp.
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