The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into the death of a vineyard worker in Sonoma County. Agricultural workers face many life-threatening hazards, and a large number of farm workers die in workplace accidents every year. Reportedly, this incident involved a tractor and mower equipment.
According to an incident report prepared by the sheriff's deputies who responded after receiving an emergency call, the incident occurred at approximately 7:30 a.m. on a recent Tuesday. They arrived at the scene to find a 34-year-old man who had succumbed to injuries he suffered while working. They say the deceased man was a tractor operator who was crushed after he became trapped under the tractor's tiller attachment.
A tiller is a powerful machine that is used for digging up the soil with tines, which are rotating metal blades. Reportedly, this worker became trapped while he attempted to remove some vineyard wire that had become entangled in the tines of the tiller. The report makes no mention of witnesses, and Cal/OSHA inspectors will determine whether noncompliance with safety regulations caused this fatality.
Losing loved ones in workplace accidents is devastating for surviving family members. Facing the unanticipated financial consequences can exacerbate the hardship. However, recovery of survivors' benefits can be pursued through the California workers' compensation system, and legal counsel is available to assist with the claims process to secure financial relief. The benefits typically include compensation to cover the costs of a funeral and burial along with a financial package to make up for the wages of the deceased loved one.
Source: ktvu.com, "Vineyard worker killed in tractor tiller accident", May 1, 2018