Industrial Accident Kills Farm Worker in Tulare County
An accident in January of 2019 killed a farm employee, leading the company and Cal/OSHA to take a serious look at operating practices and safety protocols. Richard Escobedo worked for Wonderful Citrus, which is part of one of the largest farming companies in the United States. A wind machine malfunction left Escobedo with serious internal injuries that later killed him.
Wind Machine Malfunctioned as Employee Tried to Turn it Off
At the time of the accident, Escobedo was trying to turn off a wind machine that was used to circulate warm air throughout the orchard and improve crop health on cool nights. As the victim attempted to shut down the wind machine, the machine vibrated and the 600-pound propeller came off. Although Escobedo tried to run to avoid getting hit by the propeller, it struck him. Another employee found him and called 911.
Employee Died of Internal Injuries
Due to the severity of his injuries, Escobedo was transported to the closest helicopter landing pad. The helicopter brought him to Kaweah Delta Medical Center, but they were unable to prevent his untimely death. A report from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office claimed that Escobedo died of multiple blunt force trauma.
Cal/OSHA Has Opened an Investigation
Both Wonderful Citrus and Cal/OSHA have responded swiftly to the industrial accident. In a statement released to the public, Wonderful Citrus gave their condolences to the victim’s family and reaffirmed their commitment to workplace safety. Cal/OSHA, the body that governs workplace safety in California, has opened an investigation into the incident. Though the investigation is expected to take some time, it should address any workplace safety violations and require the company to address these violations.
In its statement, Cal/OSHA also reported that Wonderful Citrus has been cited in the past for employee workplace accidents and an employee complaint. All of these incidents occurred in 2016.
Your Rights in the Workplace
Industrial accidents make up a substantial portion of workplace accidents in California, particularly in agricultural settings where employees work with potentially dangerous equipment. Companies are expected to minimize these risks whenever possible. Employers should provide thorough safety training and regular updates to ensure that employees remain aware of safety protocols. They should also implement procedures that require employees to take necessary precautions.
No matter who is responsible for a workplace injury, you do have rights when you are hurt at work. Many employees worry about seeking compensation if they are partially or fully at fault for an accident, and as a result, they may not file a workers’ compensation claim. The expenses of a work injury pile up quickly, and workers’ compensation may help you minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
Call Us After Your Workplace Accident
At Donald S. Fair, we have the resources and experience needed to help you with your workers’ compensation claim. Set up your complimentary consultation with our workers’ compensation lawyers in Upland, CA. Call our office today at (909) 949-0317 for a complimentary case review.