According to a recent article from WYFF 4 News, a worker died on-the-job at a business in Anderson, South Carolina. Authorities say the 49-year-old victim was a long-time of employee of the business, which operates a recycling facility. At the time of this fatal workplace accident, employee was operating a baler when a fire ignited. Employee fell to his death when he was trying escape the large baler, which had become engulfed in flames.
For those not familiar with the recycling industry, a recycling baler is a large piece of machinery consisting of a conveyor belt which carries recyclable materials up to an industrial compacter, which then crushes aluminum, cardboard, paper and plastic in large compressed blocks to be stacked for later processing. Due to the combustible nature of some waste material and the tremendous amount of crushing force, it is not unheard of for the material to catch on fire. A large industrial baler, such as the ones used at worker’s place of employment, can form blocks weighing up to 1,100 pounds, so the machines themselves are very large and high off the ground.
Authorities say another worker was injured as he was trying to help victim escape from the burning baler and burned his right arm. Witnesses say they first heard loud popping sounds and booms caused by the flaming waste material, which could be heard several streets away from the recycling facility. workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, in the event of a workplace accident that proves fatal, a surviving heir can file a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits.
In the state of South Carolina, workers’ compensation death benefits are controlled by the enacting legislation defined in section 24-9-290 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Pursuant to the death benefits statute, the heirs at law of a deceased worker are entitled to a payment equal to 66 and 2/3 percent of employee’s average weekly wage, but not less than $75 dollars per week for a time limit of 500 weeks from the date of employee’s death or burial. In addition to the death benefits award for lost wages, surviving heirs at law are also entitled to funeral expenses equal to cost of the burial, so long as that amount does not exceed $2,500. There is also a provision in the state code providing for the payment of medical expenses connected with decedent’s fatal accident or work-related illness. It should also be noted, under South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, an employee’s death is considered work-related if he or she died within two years of the accident, or six years from the accident if worker is still holding a disability rating. As disability rating is the measure by which disability benefits are determined for workers’ compensation cases in the state of South Carolina. A disability rating can be either for a permanent disability or a temporary disability and can also be for a partial or total disability, depending on whether accident victim can perform any work notwithstanding his or her work-related accident.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Additional Resources: Coroner releases name of worker killed in business fire, May 19, 2015, WYFF 4
More Blog Entries: Bike v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care – Workers’ Comp Benefits in Spite of Underlying Injury, March 28, 2015, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog