California Worker Killed in Wind Machine Accident

A worker was tragically killed in a wind machine accident at a California citrus orchard in Tulare County. The deadly work accident happened at Wonderful Citrus northeast of Visalia on January 3, 2019. The victim has been identified as 53-year-old Richard Escobedo of Ivanhoe.

I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Escobedo in their time of grief.

More on the Accident

According to reports, Escobedo was working alone and in the process of shutting down the wind machine when a 600-pound blade came off the machine and fell on him. Escobedo tried to run out of the way to avoid getting hit, but the blade struck him. His brother, George Escobedo said the machine vibrated really bad right before the blade came off.

The Extent of His Injuries

Escobedo suffered bad internal injuries but was still conscious when a fellow employee found him lying on the ground. The co-worker called 911 and their boss at the company. The Tulare County Fire Department received the call at about 8:30 a.m. and responded to the citrus orchard.

Medical Response

Escobedo was transported to the nearest helicopter landing zone at Stone Corral Elementary School where he was airlifted to a nearby medical center. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said he later died at the hospital from multiple blunt force trauma.

Remembering Richard Escobedo

Escobedo had been an employee of Wonderful Citrus since 2012. He grew up in Woodlake in the San Joaquin Valley and attended Woodlake High School. He is survived by his wife, Edith and their sons Jacob and Cesar.

Cal/OSHA Opens Investigation

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) said it had opened an investigation to determine what caused the workplace death. It is also looking to see if the citrus company has violated any workplace safety regulations. Cal/OSHA said Wonderful Citrus had been cited for two accidents and a complaint in 2016.

The citrus company said it is also investigating what caused the blade to come off the wind machine. In a statement, the company said nothing is more important than the safety of their employees and that they will use every resource to determine what caused the accident while take whatever steps necessary to make sure this never happens again.

How Wind Machines Work

Wind is caused by the imbalanced heating of the sun’s atmosphere, the disproportions of the earth’s exterior, and the rotation of the earth. People take advantage of the wind flow for many purposes including flying a kite, sailing and generating electricity.

Wind machines, also called turbines, are used primarily to create electricity which is circulated into orchards or fields during cold nights. The machines run on a simple principle. The wind’s energy turns the propeller-like blades around a rotor, which is attached to the main shaft. The shaft spins a generator to produce electricity.

Watch YouTube Video: How do Wind Turbines Work? The animated video below illustrates how a wind machine works, by explaining the blade design, blade tilting, velocity sensor, the use of brake and wind turbine efficiency.

Liability in the Workplace

Companies are expected to take safety measure to prevent injuries and accidents in the workplace. This is even more important for industrial and agricultural companies, which account for a large number of workplace accidents and fatalities. When companies fail to protect their employees from serious injuries or deaths, the victim’s family may be able to obtain claim benefits from the company’s worker’s compensation system.

Filing a Product Liability or Wrongful Death Claim

Most people may not realize that the worker’s compensation system is not the only source of recovery following a workplace accident. Workers may be able to file a product liability claim if a malfunctioned machine contributed to the accident. Family members of the deceased worker may be able to file for a wrongful death claim. 

Sacramento Machine Accident Lawyers 

I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. When companies fail to put the safety of their workers first, injuries and accidents can occur. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in the workplace, call me for a free consultation at 916-584-9355. My staff and I have the experience and resources to investigate every aspect of your case.

I have had the honor of helping many Sacramento residents, and those in other areas of Northern California receive claim benefits for wrongful death and personal injury cases since 1982.

I member of both the Million Dollar Advocates and the Top One Percent.

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