An Illinois man killed several months ago in a workplace accident has since been the subject of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation. The man was employed at a condominium complex and was working to try to keep swans away from the building. The work accident occurred while he was in a kayak attempting to draw the birds out of a pond on the property.
OSHA came to the determination that the swans were actually to blame for his death, and the company violated no safety protocol in the accident. The man apparently ventured too close to the animals and was attacked. Although he was known to be a good swimmer, his kayak tipped and he was dumped into the water fully clothed.
The worker was also wearing boots which weighed him down, and as he struggled to get to the shore, the swans continued to attack. The man ultimately drowned. Safety officials stepped in to see if there were any violations that could have contributed to the attack, but found nothing.
A work accident like this can be difficult to understand because he was involved in a seemingly innocent activity, but unfortunately appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even though the employer didn't demonstrate negligence, the family is likely entitled to workers' compensation death benefits from the fatal accident. These benefits can help those he leaves behind, with funeral expenses and lost income from employment.
Illinois families who lose a loved one due to a work accident may have financial assistance available to them and may benefit by seeking assistance to fully understand their rights under the law.
Source: Claims Journal, "OSHA: Swans Blamed for Illinois Man's Death," Nov. 29, 2012