Whatcom County Sheriff's officials are investigating the death of a worker at a local dairy farm north of Lynden, Washington, according to the Bellingham Herald. Officials say a large, overhead door fell on the 30-year-old worker and pinned him against an interior cattle gate. He died at the scene. Officials are looking into whether the door fell as a result of a mechanical failure. Authorities will report the findings of their investigation to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there were a total of 47 fatalities in the dairy industry in 2007. Out of these fatalities, 13 deaths were a result of contact with objects and equipment. That category includes dairy workers who were killed as a result of falling objects. In this particular case, it is not clear what caused the door to fall on the worker. In cases where industrial accidents result in death, the worker's family will be entitled to worker's compensation benefits. However, if the fatal injury involved negligence on the part of someone else or a defective product, a third party claim can be brought against the negligent party or the manufacturer of the defective product.