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Trial in fatal workplace tree-trimming accident to continue


As most Californians can imagine, some jobs are fairly safe and others present considerable risks to workers' health and safety. People in high-risk industries usually understand the risks involved and know to be careful while working. They also know that workplace safety is just as much the responsibility of employers as employees. They must make the workplace as safe for employees as possible or be held responsible in the event of a workplace accident. This is the situation following the death of a San Diego tree trimmer in November 2013.

The 42-year-old man's death occurred after an occupational accident when the 60-foot tree he was trimming from a cherry picker fell on him and crushed his head. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the owner of the tree-trimming business, Three Frogs Inc., and two employees in the fatal accident. The company was ordered to cease operations after OSHA discovered three violations, including the employer's failure to properly train the victim and his coworkers in cutting large trees like the one that killed him. The business owner now faces a variety of criminal charges, including failure to provide workers' compensation and unemployment insurance fraud. The judge overseeing the case recently set a continuance date for early September. The owner could face more than $1 million in fines and six years in prison if convicted.

In most cases, surviving family members can receive workers' compensation after a loved one's death on the job. The victim in this case left behind a wife and infant son.

A workers' compensation claim should be filed as soon as possible to avoid rejection. Compensation can be used to pay medical expenses and related financial costs. Workers can file claims themselves or speak with legal professionals who can handle the legal aspects of their cases.

Source: Cbs8.com, "Business owner charged for tree trimmer's death," Gene Kang, Aug. 27, 2014

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