Winston, OR — On December 4, 2018, an industrial accident at a logging site just outside Winston took the life of 57-year-old worker Richard Allen Smith.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said the incident happened just before 9:30 a.m. when emergency dispatch received a call requesting medical assistance. Preliminary investigation suggests that Smith was working on a piece of industrial equipment; it is unclear what happened during this time that caused his fatal injury.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
Douglas County officials continue to investigate the incident.
Map of the Area
Industrial accidents like the one above often end up being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some people believe OSHA’s investigations are meant to benefit those injured at work; while it’s true that the organization’s findings can be of some benefit to workers as evidence, more often than not the federal agency only seeks to punish workplaces that don’t follow federal safety regulations. Put a different way, OSHA’s purpose isn’t so much to help injured workers as it is to straighten out their employers.
I don’t mean to disparage the agency–what they do is important, or employers would have so little oversight that they could allow their employees to get hurt left and right with impunity. However, I try to explain to people that they shouldn’t invest too much faith in what OSHA does because it’s not really acting on their behalf. OSHA works for the government, not for hurt employees and their families. It’s something to keep in mind when deciding what steps need to be taken after an accident that robs a faithful worker of his livelihood, or even his life.
–Grossman Law Offices