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OSHA rules fatal construction accident was avoidable

When the media reports on the death of a Colorado construction worker, it may affect all other construction workers who are likely only too aware of the multitude of potentially life-threatening hazards to which they are exposed on a daily basis. Construction company owners must ensure the safety of workers by addressing known hazards that may lead to a construction accident. Unfortunately, some employers disregard safety regulations and the welfare of their employees.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the tragic death of a 21-year-old worker on a recent Tuesday was avoidable. It was reported that the young man was an employee of a roofing contractor and part of a crew working on a roofing repair project. On the second day of this project, the worker accidentally stepped into an unprotected opening on the roof and fell approximately 22 feet to his death.

The regional director of OSHA says initial investigations revealed that the roofing company failed to protect the workers. None of the prescribed safety measures, such as ropes, safety harnesses or guardrails, were provided. The company also failed to cover existing openings on the roof. The agency says that all of these hazards could have been addressed at a minimal cost.

The family of this Colorado worker will now face the high costs associated with end-of-life arrangements. Also, the sudden loss of income may present financial difficulties. Fortunately, the surviving family members will be entitled to pursue death benefits as provided by the workers' compensation insurance program. If a worker dies in a construction accident, death benefits that include coverage for a funeral and burial may be claimed. A certain level of compensation to cover loss of income may also be provided.

Source: gazette.com, "Roofing death was avoidable, OSHA says", Chhun Sun, Nov. 13, 2015

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