The family of a man who fell to his death while repairing a bridge in Maryland have sued his employer for wrongful death.
Bernard Burrows, a 58-year-old bridge mechanic at CSX Transportation, fell to his death when he tried to urinate off a bridge that he was working on. In their lawsuit, the family claims that CSX failed to provide portable toilets for the workers, forcing them to urinate and defecate off the bridge, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
As Burrows went to relieve himself, he allegedly fell through a large hole on the bridge that was covered by an unsecured platform. He fell 90 feet to his death.
In the wrongful death action, Burrows' family will likely have to claim that CSX was negligent or engaged in misconduct in not providing toilets for its employees. Regardless of where someone works, it should be reasonable to expect that employees be given a place to relieve themselves. You would imagine that this would be especially true when the employees are working on a bridge or other dangerous area.
It wasn't reported what damages the surviving family members are seeking, but they can typically seek recovery for loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and funeral expenses. A court will consider the victims' age, his earning capacity, and financial circumstances of his family members in issuing its award.
Along with the wrongful death lawsuit, CSX transportation could also face a separate OSHA action for providing an unsafe workplace for its employees. Employers almost always have to provide a restroom for their employees, and forcing employees to urinate off a bridge is probably not acceptable.