We find it commonplace during our daily routines to see construction and city workers maintaining and repairing the streets and infrastructure which we rely on so heavily, oftentimes driving by them without giving their work a second thought. However, rarely do we contemplate the dangers that these men and women face on a daily basis in order to keep our streets safe and our utilities up and running. It has recently come to my attention that, in a tragic turn of events, a long-time Natick employee was killed on February 4, 2014, while working on an emergency repair of a water line. Another employee was injured as well. As reported by Boston.com and Wicked Local, the deceased worker had worked for the Town of Natick for 26 years before the tragic accident. The Natick Town Administrator called the incident a freak accident. The reports indicate that the men were working when a backhoe was accidentally pulled forward, causing the stabilizer of the backhoe to strike the two workers. One passed away due to his injuries, while the other escaped with his life, having sustained serious injury. However, work could not stop entirely to allow the Natick DPW to mourn; they were out the very next day responding to a snowstorm.
A few years ago, our firm came across, and settled, a similar case, which involved a backhoe that tipped forward, causing a worker to sustain serious bodily injury. The reoccurrence of such tragic, but preventable harm is discouraging. However, cases like these serve an important public purpose, putting the manufacturers of heavy machinery on notice that their products can be dangerous and extreme care needs to be put into their design. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families involved in this most recent accident. Next time, as you drive down the road and see a crew of workers, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice that they make on a daily basis, subjecting themselves to the possibility of serious injury or death in order to keep all of the people’s lives running smoothly in the community that they serve.