Nearly all professions carry some risk of injury. However, some Colorado workers are at greater risk of getting injured or killed at work than others. In some cases, the risk stems from exposure to hazardous chemicals or heavy machinery. In others, though, the danger is directly attributable to the population the worker is serving.
The risk of work-related injury or death is particularly acute for Colorado police officers and prison employees. Sadly, this unfortunate truth hit home earlier this month, when one Colorado prison employee was killed and another was injured after being attacked by an inmate.
The incident occurred at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility east of Pueblo. According to police reports, the two workers were preparing breakfast when they were attacked. Law enforcement has identified a person of interest in the case, but has refrained from releasing a detailed report of the incident while the investigation is still pending. The inmate suspected in the attack was serving a sentence of 35 years to life for convictions on kidnapping and sexual assault charges.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The fact that a worker is employed in a high-risk profession does not have any bearing on his or her eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Police officers and prison workers who are injured on the job have the same right to workers’ compensation benefits as anyone else, even if the injury was incurred in an attack by a suspect or inmate.
In addition, the families of police officers and prison workers who are killed on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation death and dependency benefits. These damages are meant to replace the workers’ income while the family recovers from its loss.
Source: USA Today, “Colo. Inmate kills 1 prison worker, wounds another,” Michael Winter, Sept. 24, 2012.