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Fatal workplace injury at demolition site leads to OSHA fines

Construction sites nationwide, including in Colorado, always pose numerous dangers, regardless of whether a building is going up or coming down. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the completion of an investigation into a fatal workplace injury at a demolition site in another state. A 57-year-old employee lost his life on June 24.

Not many details about the incident were published, except that the worker was working on the ground when a piece of material struck him. Reportedly, the crew worked on the demolition of a defunct coal-fired generating station. Workers were dismantling the steel beams and columns of the old structure when a steel piece dislodged and struck the worker, causing his death.

OSHA investigators determined that the workers disregarded safety regulations when they overburdened the structural framework. The federal agency issued citations for two serious safety violations and proposed a penalty of almost $25,000. OSHA's records reportedly show that the same company was also found in violation of safety regulations at a different work site earlier in 2016.

When an employee in Colorado suffers a fatal workplace injury, his or her surviving family members may seek assistance from the workers' compensation insurance system. They can file death benefits claims that will cover unanticipated expenses related to the incident. This typically includes hospital and doctors' bills if the worker did not die at the worksite, along with the costs of a funeral and burial. A wage replacement package may be awarded to assist with living expenses for a prescribed period after the tragedy.

Source: gazettextra.com, "Company fined in town of Beloit coal plant demolition death", Neil Johnson, Dec. 30, 2016

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