For those not familiar with cryotherapy, clients get inside a therapy chamber, or place their head in the chamber if they are only having a facial, and then they are exposed to air that is below 240 degrees Fahrenheit for brief periods of time. This method of therapy is designed to rejuvenate the body. It is also being used more frequently these days by athletes who believe cryotherapy will help them get stronger after exercise and heal faster after an injury. While many think of this concept as somewhat new, the spa owner of the facility where an employee was recently killed said this form of medical therapy has been around since the 1800s. The tank functions by using large amounts of liquid nitrogen and other chemicals to get the cryotherapy chamber down to temperature.
According to a recent article from the Las Vegas Review Journal, a 24-year-old woman was working at a Las Vegas spa when she was found dead in the cryotherapy chamber. Authorities say she was last seen alive on security camera footage closing the spa for the evening. She was found dead in the chamber the following morning when employees came to open the spa for business. One of her coworkers called the family and told them what happened and expressed her condolences. She reportedly told the family it was common for employees to use the cryotherapy chamber personally without supervision.
There have been differing reports about how this employee died. First, there are two different models of cryotherapy machines at the spa, and it has not been made public which one she was using. The first type of machine is for facials only and requires a client to put his or her head in a small chamber and does not require the person to wear a mask, or earmuffs, or anything else. The second type of machine is the full body chamber, and this machine requires a user to step completely inside the chamber wearing gloves, underwear, earmuffs, and a mask. Presumably, the mask is worn so the super cold air does not damage the lungs.
It was suggested on television reports that this tragic death was due to operator error, but the family strongly disagrees with this suggestion. They said employee was very familiar with the procedure and had performed it so many times on clients that she was promoted to a management position. They also said she was a well-trained operator. The medical examiner is scheduled to perform an autopsy and does not want to speculate about the cause of death prior to the full post-mortem examination. Medical examiner said one of the most important things will be to determine what gasses she was exposed to at the time of her death.
While there has been a lot of speculation as to the cause of this tragic death, if you have a family member who was killed as a result of a fatal on-the-job injury, your Boston workers’ compensation benefits attorney can help you through the process and explain how fault is not required in order to collect workers’ compensation benefits or workers’ compensation death benefits.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: (617) 777-7777.
Family says woman died in cryotherapy chamber in ‘seconds’, October 28, 2015, Las Vegas Review-Journal, by Ricardo Torres
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Frith v. WSI – Proving Worsening Condition Is Related to Work Injury, May 27, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog