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Colorado-based sugar beet company accident: factory worker killed

Western Sugar Cooperative, producer of beet sugar products, is headquartered in Denver and has several refineries throughout the state as well as some in neighboring states. In 2004, Western Sugar faced an OSHA investigation after the death of an employee in one of the Colorado refineries. As a result, the company faced thousands of dollars in fines.

Sadly, another employee death has occurred at one of Western Sugar's facilities in Wyoming. Though an investigation has already begun, family and friends of the employee will likely not get any answers until the investigation closes. So what happened?

According to authorities, earlier this month a woman had been working on or near a lift system when she fell in. It took responders several hours to recover her body. This particular accident bears little similarity to the death that occurred in 2004, where an employee was unloading sugar beets and was crushed by a conveyor system.

For workers, the company has provided counseling as part of its efforts to support its employees after the tragic accident. But what other resources are available to the grieving family? What type of support is available in the midst of funeral expenses and lost wages?

For workers who are killed in a workplace accident, workers' compensation benefits are available to help families financially during a very difficult time. These types of benefits can help dependents, such as young children or an older parent, who relied on the worker's wages. It may seem overwhelming to navigate the workers' compensation waters alone, especially after the death of a loved one. Speaking with an attorney who can help clarify the complex system can only help.

Source: Powell Tribune, "Woman dies in accident at sugar factory," CJ Baker, Jan. 7, 2013.

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