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College student killed in workplace accident

While many jobs in Illinois come with associated risks, most restaurant servers likely feel like they are fairly safe from a serious or fatal injury while on the job. Unfortunately, the recent death of a college student shows that there are often hidden dangers in restaurants that can lead to a workplace accident. Several different organizations are now investigating the out-of-state incident.

In early December, the 21-year-old victim was working at a restaurant. Her body was later found in a dumbwaiter -- a food elevator used to transport food between floors. While it is not entirely clear what caused her death, it is speculated that she may have reached in for an item after pressing the button.

After an accident such as this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) typically investigates to determine what caused the accident, in an attempt to prevent similar events in the future. If it finds that safety and health standards were violated, leading up to the fatal accident, the Wisconsin restaurant could face a fine and a citation. Other agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, are also investigating the accident.

While these investigations will work to determine the cause of the workplace accident, the family of the young woman is likely coming to terms with her death. Many people who unexpectedly lose a loved one are left with both grief and stress over the potential financial ramifications of the death. However, employers are required to provide employees with workers' compensation benefits that typically extend to the employee's loved ones in the event of a fatality. These benefits provide compensation for medical bills, funeral costs and lost wages, among others. Many in Illinois have found that the path to compensation is complex and have sought assistance to help ensure that they are treated fairly.

Source: thonline.com, "Agencies probe student's food elevator death in Wisconsin", Dec. 5, 2014

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
505 E Hawley St.
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