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Diver Inspecting Braintree Water Tank Dies in Workplace Accident

According to a recent news report from the Boston Globe, a worker was killed in Braintree while he was diving to inspect an enormous water tank with his son nearby.  The tank is four stories high and was filled with freezing cold water at the time of the incident.

water tankAuthorities report the man was hired to inspect this huge water tank and was inside of it that morning when he reported to others on the site that he was having trouble with his air supply.  This was around 10 a.m.  This communication was he last. He thereafter lost contact  with workers on the surface, who were the last to see him alive.At this point, with the workers’ son standing near is father, another worker decided to dive into the tank in an attempt to rescue the drowning victim. This other man was working on the job as a spotter for the man in the tank, since his visibility was clearly compromised by the dark water in the tank.  However, when he jumped into the frigid water, it turned out to be much colder than he initially thought it would be, and he nearly became a drowning victim himself.

When first responders arrived on the scene, they had to compete with very icy conditions on top of the tank and also with strong winds.  There were first responders from multiple agencies to assist with what had become a dangerous rescue operation. As the water started to overflow from the large tank, it was freezing instantly and making the rescue efforts even more difficult. The second victim was completely drenched with icy water and was numb and unable to move.  Fortunately, the rescue workers were able to pull him out before it was too late.  There was nothing they could do for the diver who first went into the water.  The town officials decided to drain the tank most of the way over the following day, so his body could be recovered in what they called a more dignified manner.

As our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, in a workplace accident, there is no need to prove any fault on behalf of the employer.  However, it is necessary to prove that the injured or killed worker was an employee and not an independent contractor.   For example, if a town hired a diving crew to work on their water tower, and one of the divers was injured or killed, the town would not likely be responsible under a workers’ compensation case, because the worker was not an employee of the town.

However, if the worker were an employee of an engineering firm, for example, that firm would likely be responsible for workers’ compensation benefits.  Just because there was no employment relationship between the town and the worker, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t under someone’s employment.  If, however, he worked for himself, he would not likely be covered by workers’ compensation. He could possibly sue the town, but that would require proving some type of negligence.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Diver in Braintree died in the presence of his teen son, December 15, 2016, By Jessica Rinaldi, Boston Globe

More Blog Entries:

OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule and Employee Drug Testing, July 14, 2016, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog