Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Veteran dies in Washington state silo collapse

Agricultural businesses in Illinois, which has its fair share of grain silos, should take note of an accident in the State of Washington that shows the importance of workplace safety. In the west central Washington town of Roy, a U.S. Marine veteran died when he was buried under more than 50 tons of grain. The 44-year-old male worker was doing routine maintenance on a Wilcox Family Farms silo when it collapsed and buried him.

After searching for most of the day, searchers finally found his body after two other damaged silos were reinforced because they posed additional hazards to the recovery effort. When the worker's body was found, he was carried out in a full ceremonial military procession from the accident scene. The worker is survived by his wife and four children. The silos hold chicken feed used in the company's Northwest egg business.

After a June safety inspection, the facility had been cited and fined $10,000 by the state's Department of Labor and Industries for six serious violations, including failing to inform employees about hazardous conditions around a corn tank and for its inadequate emergency and rescue services. It was unclear, however, if the feed silo that collapsed was part of any violation. The facility's owner has issued a public apology, stating that he and the company were deeply saddened by the worker's death.

In this or any other workplace accident, apologies may not be enough. Chicago work-related deaths from construction and other types of accidents not only leave a family grieving from the loss, but also facing financial problems. Besides funeral expenses, a family has to deal with the long-term implications of losing a breadwinner. In such an instance, the family may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the employer legally responsible and to receive compensation for the loss.

Source: Komo news, "Body Recovered From Collapsed Roy Grain Silo," Dec. 4, 2013

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