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Colorado man falls from power line into trench and is killed

Last week, a man died in a work-related accident in San Miguel County, Colorado. He had been working on a power line when, for unknown reasons, he fell and landed in a trench. When he landed, the trench collapsed on top of him and he was buried under a pile of dirt.

There is little information about this fatal accident but there are a number of questions that the worker's family probably has for his employer. Why did he fall from the power line in the first place? Could the man's death have been prevented?

Some might argue yes. According to the report, after the man fell rescuers were unable to pull him out of the collapsed trench because of bad weather. Described as "severe lightning", this weather is what prevented rescuers from reaching the man until the next day.

Were these rescue crews employed by the same company that the man worked for? If so, could the man have been rescued in time? In situations like these, employers should have proper procedures in place to help protect their employees' health and safety.

Another question that can be raised is whether the trench collapse could have been prevented. Even with the severe weather, had the trench not collapsed the man may not have died. It is not clear what the extent of his injuries from the fall was or whether his death was caused by the fall or from being crushed by the debris.

When an employee is killed, he or she sometimes leaves behind loved ones who depended on their financial support. If a worker dies in a work-related accident, his or her loved ones can seek workers' compensation benefits often referred to as death benefits. This type of compensation can help a worker's family deal with medical expenses, funeral costs, and other expenses that may arise from the unexpected death.

Source: KKTV online, "Man Working on Power Line Dies After Fall," Associated Press, 12 July 2011

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