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Untrained worker without hard hat dies after workplace injury

Construction workers in Oklahoma may not always be fully informed about the potential personal injury hazards posed by their chosen occupation. In many cases, construction company owners, supervisors and employees only realize the importance of compliance to safety regulations when a serious workplace injury or death occurs. Many families have lost loved ones, along with their source of income, as a result of work-related accidents that could have been avoided.

An investigation following a January construction accident determined that a construction company in another state had failed to provide its workers with training associated with the dangers present on construction sites. A worker died after operating a skid-steer loader without any prior training in the operation of the heavy motorized equipment. The bucket of the loader became detached and fell on top of the operator. It was reported that the 30-year-old worker died from severe trauma to his head.

Investigators found that the worker’s head was not protected when he operated the loader, and the company was cited for the supervisor’s failure to ensure that the worker wore a hard hat to protect himself against overhead hazards. Furthermore, it was established that the construction company failed to inspect the site to identify potential hazardous situations. Although the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides countless sources of information and safety initiatives, many company owners and supervisors seem to disregard the safety of their workers.

The family of the construction worker who died in this workplace accident likely faces a financial dilemma after having to settle funeral and burial bills. In addition, they will now have to cope without his income. However, some financial aid may be available from the workers’ compensation insurance fund, which aims to assist workers who have suffered a workplace injury and families who have lost loved ones. Most construction workers in Oklahoma and other states are eligible to claim benefits that cover final costs and a portion of lost income from the fund. In particular instances, survivor benefits for the family of the deceased may also be considered.

Source: riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com, "Company cited by OSHA in January fatal accident", Paul Squire, July 5, 2014

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