Dierkes’ death in June was the subject of a report issued by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) earlier this month. The report determined that “ if required safety guards or fall protection had been installed, the 39-year-old employee’s ninth day on the job might not have been their last”.
Osha said workers at Caterpillar’s foundry were “routinely exposed” to unprotected fall hazards and has proposed a fine of $145,027. The decision does not go far enough for Jessica Sutter, Dierkes’ fiancee.
“My children are left without their father, I am left without my fiancee, my partner, my best friend, all because they didn’t want to take better safety precautions for that type of work,” Sutter, who had two daughters with Dierkes, said.
She claimed Caterpillar has not provided any assistance or support to her and her daughters. She is now trying to find additional work to save enough money to find a new place to live with her children because her landlord won’t conduct needed repairs on her home. She said they were already suffering financially because Dierkes had been out of work for two months before starting at Caterpillar.