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Elephant kills caretaker in workplace accident

Some people are passionate about the care of animals. While some in Illinois choose to focus their passion for animals by working at a veterinary office, others take a somewhat more dangerous route. For example, one caretaker was believed to be killed in a recent workplace accident that took place out-of-state and involved an elephant. Some say such accidents could be prevented if additional safety measures are in place.

The accident happened in early September. The man was apparently stepped on by one of the two elephants he provided care for. He was unresponsive when discovered in the barn. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has since launched an investigation into events leading to the man's death.

Some people say that the man's death further illustrates the need for additional safety measures to be in place for those caring for large animals, especially elephants. Specifically, proponents argue that placing some sort of barrier between elephants and their caretakers could prevent deadly accidents such as this. However, a representative for Hope Elephants in Maine, where the accident took place, claims that the rehabilitative services the elephants required could not be provided if there was such a barrier in place.

Unfortunately, a workplace accident resulting in serious injury or death is all too common. As a result, all states, including Illinois, require employees to provide workers' compensation benefits, a form of insurance that provides compensation to employees in the event of a workplace injury. In the result of a fatality, this coverage typically extends to the dependents of the employee. It can provide compensation for lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses, among other. However, the path to compensation is sometimes complicated, prompting many people to seek assistance from those with experience in an effort to ensure they receive timely and adequate compensation.

Source: Quincy Herald-Whig, "OSHA investigates death of elephant caretaker", David Sharp, Sept. 19, 2014

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
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