According to authorities, a New Jersey resident working at a sugar processing facility in the Philadelphia suburbs fell into a vat and died after an unknown period of time. Although none of the man’s coworkers actually witnessed the accident, it was reported that he had previously been observed attempting to open a clog from the top of a hopper near the tank.

The 50-year-old victim’s body was only discovered later, when the clog continued to present a problem. A subcontractor who was called in to fix the issue found the body on Feb. 25 after investigating an auxiliary tank access. According to the county coroner, the man’s death is being classified as a workplace accident

This incident is under investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is currently unclear whether this inquiry will result in penalties for CSC Sugar, the firm that owns the Falls Township plant where the death occurred. It is also unclear whether or not the deceased is survived by any relatives, but if so, they may choose to seek some form of restitution.

Although the coroner determined that this death was accidental, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have been prevented. The ongoing investigation could find that faulty equipment, defective machinery or improper observance of safety regulations played a role in the incident. This might prompt the survivors to sue the firm. As with other workplace fatality cases, however, there are many factors, which is why many people who pursue restitution solicit the assistance of knowledgeable attorneys who deal in workplace compensation law.

Source: ABC 27 WHTM, “Pa. sugar plant worker killed after fall into vat,” Feb. 25, 2013