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Pennsylvania zoo worker killed in freak work accident

The death of an employee in a workplace accident raises some serious questions about the employer's roles and responsibilities toward providing a safe environment for its workers. This is because a workplace accident can not only claim the life of an individual and cause his or her family emotional and financial distress, but it also highlights the risks that other workers who perform similar jobs face on a day-to-day basis. One such incident recently occurred at the Philadelphia Zoo.

According to reports, a 57-year-old mechanic was killed after a golf cart, which he was repairing, fell on top of him in the zoo's garage. The victim's body was discovered when he did not show up for a scheduled meeting and another zoo worker came looking for him. The victim was rushed to the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, but was pronounced dead on arrival. He is survived by his wife and three children.

The victim was the only mechanic at the zoo and had served in that position for 14 years. Authorities were unsure about how the golf cart fell on him and are investigating the incident. The victim's co-workers raised concerns about worker safety at the zoo and wondered if the work accident could have been prevented.

According to an unidentified co-worker, the zoo's maintenance department, which once employed 24 workers, is now down to 10 and, even among them, four were absent because of injuries. That same co-worker also pointed out that the victim was working alone and did not have hydraulic jacks, which forced him to rely on rudimentary jacks and drive lifts in order to raise the golf cart.

When an incident as unfortunate as this occurs, a victim's family has no other option but to rely on workers' compensation benefits, which may be recoverable on the basis of their loved one's death. Sadly, even though the benefits rightfully belong to the survivors, obtaining them seamlessly becomes a challenge because of the immense amount of paperwork and legalities involved in the claim process. To cope with such challenges, legal aid from a professional may be extremely beneficial.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Zoo worker killed by golf cart," Stephanie Farr, Oct. 1, 2014

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