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Georgia silo accident leaves one dead

A recent work-related accident in a rural Georgia community has left a 31-year-old man dead. According to the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office, at about 1:15 p.m. on March 27, two men were working in a grain silo at Southwest Georgia Ethanol in Pelham when one of them slipped and fell into an auger, a mechanical system used to sort grain in the silo. A supervisor who was outside the silo had to run 60 feet to hit the switch to stop the machinery. He called for help, but the employee was pulled into the auger and killed.

Investigators ruled it a work accident, and the incident was the second such accident within a week. On March 25, police responded to a call about a 62-year-old man working in a silo in Camilla when he became trapped in the auger and was killed. Regardless of where employees are working, federal and state laws require a safe work area free of hazards. The agricultural machinery used can make farms extremely dangerous, especially if safety standards and procedures are not followed. In the Southwest Georgia Ethanol incident, observers noted that the switch to shut off the machinery in an emergency was not close enough to reach quickly.

Georgia workers' compensation laws provide financial compensation to employees' dependents if they die from an on-the-job injury, but claims must be filed within 30 days. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers have the right to know of any dangers in the work environment.

Workers also have the right under federal law to know if their employer has been cited for previous safety violations. A workers' compensation attorney can guide clients through the process, advise them of their rights and counsel them on filing deadlines.

Source: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration Frequently Asked Questions

Source: WFXL, "Fatal silo accident in Mitchell County", March 27, 2014

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