Farming is an important industry in California, and citrus groves are one of the state’s most renowned crops. However, like many other manual jobs where people must work with heavy machinery, farming can be dangerous. One recent incident in a California citrus grove exemplifies just how dangerous these occupations can be.
A worker in a California citrus grove lost his life recently after being struck by a 600-pound wind machine blade. The wind machines stop the citrus crops from freezing by circulating warm air on the orchards. According to the brother of the deceased worker, the worker was turning off a wind machine. The machine started vibrating heavily, which caused a propeller to break off, hitting the worker, who died from the blow he suffered. The company the deceased worked for had been cited twice in 2016 for accidents that took place at its facilities. This recent incident is being investigated by state regulators.
When a person in California dies performing their work duties, it may be possible for his or her survivors to seek death benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation system. These are benefits that are paid to a surviving spouse or other dependents if the worker dies from a work-related event. The amount one can seek in death benefits is dependent on how many dependents survive the deceased, and whether they are minors.
It remains to be seen what the results of the investigation will be in this recent incident. However, it is important for those injured on the job (or their loved ones if they are killed) to know that they may seek workers’ compensation benefits following the incident. If they qualify for benefits, they may be awarded the financial resources they need to get through a difficult time.