California safety officials investigate dairy farm accident

Milk cows are generally not regarded as aggressive animals. However, a California dairy worker recently sustained fatal internal injuries while herding a group of dairy cows for his employer on a recent early Saturday morning. The accident has prompted an investigation by officials from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Cal/OSHA has regulations that pertain to agricultural workers. However, no safety violation has yet been identified in this incident. In fact, state officials have confirmed that the dairy farm in question had a clean safety record.

According to reports, the cows crushed the man against a fence during a routine move into their feeding area. It’s unclear if some of the cows started to charge, and if so, what may have prompted them. The name of the dairy farm under investigation is listed on Cal/OSHA’s website.

If negligence is determined to have been a reason for the accident, the man’s surviving family members might want to consult with a workplace accidents attorney who is familiar with both worker’s compensation and wrongful death lawsuit procedures. An attorney might be able to compile evidence -- something that might be the last thing on the minds of surviving loved ones.

The results of the OSHA investigation may also make an impact beyond any immediate civil litigation brought by the deceased worker’s surviving family members. State safety regulators continuously gather safety data and revise existing regulations. If this tragedy exposes the need for additional agricultural workplace regulations, Cal/OSHA officials might be quick to take action.

Source: dailybulletin.com, “Worker's death at Dick Dykstra Dairy in Ontario prompts state inquiry,” Doug Saunders and Melissa Pinion-Whitt, June 17, 2013

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