The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into the cause of an industrial accident at a Pennsylvania trucking company that claimed a man’s life in late December. The fatal workplace accident occurred on the morning of Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

A representative of the local police department said that on the morning in question, the worker, age 32, was attempting to separate a truck from its trailer when he was crushed beneath the trailer. The coroner has determined that the cause of death to be an accident. OSHA, which investigates all workplace fatalities, will not comment on the cause of death until after completion of its investigation. The review may take up to six months. If the agency finds that the worker’s death was caused by unsafe working conditions or a violation of safety regulations, it may cite the employer for safety violations, which carry the possibility of fines and penalties.

Because the workplace accident resulted in a fatality, the deceased worker’s family may be eligible for death benefits under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. Death benefits are based on the deceased worker’s lost wages and are meant to ease the family’s financial burden following the death of their loved one. Eligibility for death benefits may extend to the worker’s surviving spouse and dependent children. Additional family members, such as financially dependent parents, may also be eligible for benefits under certain circumstances.

Although the results of the OSHA investigation in this case are pending, the deceased worker’s family may elect to consult with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. The attorney may be able to explain the death benefits that may be available and assist in filing a claim.

Source: WHTM, “OSHA probing NW Pa. trucking worker’s crush death”, December 31, 2013