Semi-trailer trucks lined up at loading docks waiting to be loaded or unloaded are a common sight in Connecticut. When they are parked, big rigs appear to be harmless, but even a small malfunction in moving these large trucks can cause a serious workplace accident.

A recent accident at an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania demonstrates the point. A big rig was parked at the loading dock when its kingpin became stuck. The kingpin is used to hitch the trailer to the tractor by sliding into a steel plate on the rear deck of the tractor. The driver decided that additional lubrication was needed to free the king pin, and a dock worker volunteered to lie between the second and third sets of wheels and apply grease as the tractor moved the truck.

Unfortunately, the driver inexplicably moved the truck farther than he had intended, and the dock worker was crushed to death. The incident is being treated as an accidental death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is commencing an investigation of the accident. OSHA has six months to finish its investigation and provide a report on the causes of the accident. No information was available about the ownership of the truck or the driver’s employer.

The deceased worker left a wife and young son. If the accident had occurred in Connecticut, the wife and child would be entitled to survivors’ benefits under the state’s worker’s compensation system. If the truck were owned by any entity other than Amazon, that entity may held liable for a portion of the family’s financial losses. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult a lawyer who handles workers’ compensation claims for advice on available benefits and the process of applying for benefits.

Source: pennlive.com, “New details released in death of Amazon warehouse worker,” Christine Vendel, Sep. 28, 2017