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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Rise in Colorado construction could mean rise in workman's comp

Colorado citizens are hard-working and dedicated to their chosen professions. Some job industries carry more risk than others, like the construction industry. Workers that are injured on the job have the right to file for workman's comp benefits that can help offset the varied costs of their injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns that a recent increase in deaths related to the construction industry may continue, meaning more families may have need of these benefits.

OSHA has been dispatching its representatives all over the country due to this reported rise in construction industry deaths. Five different locations in different states suffered fatal work-related incidents that required investigation in just the span of one week. In 2012 -- the most recent year with complete statistical data -- over 800 construction employees in the United States died while working, which is 9 percent higher than the previous year.

Death benefits possible in fatal cell tower collapse

When a person here in Colorado places a call on their cell phone, they probably don't think about the construction workers that built the cell towers to help make that call possible. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration voiced concerns recently over this area of the industry that has resulted in 10 times the fatalities of basic construction work, as reported by at least one study. OSHA has cited one out-of-state company for what it says has resulted in the death of two tower employees. The deceased victims' families may be eligible for death benefits as part of workers’ compensation insurance program.

OSHA’s investigation was launched after the two employees and a local volunteer firefighter were killed and others were injured when a cell phone tower collapsed. OSHA says that the fatal accident happened because the company in question commit two serious safety violations relating to improper bracing techniques. The company was assessed two fines that totaled $14,000. It can choose to appeal OSHA’s ruling, pay the fines or request to meet OSHA representatives to address the underlying issues.

Potential death benefits after worker electrocuted

Employers in Colorado generally take all available safety precautions to keep their workers free from harm. This can include thorough training, safety gear, maintenance of equipment and other means. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created to ensure that employers follow specific regulations that will prevent injury and death. One family from out of state may need to make a claim for workers' compensation death benefits after losing their loved one in a tragic work accident.

According to authorities, the accident happened at a chicken production plant. An employee was said to be replacing a pump and was accidentally electrocuted to death. OSHA is now investigating the incident to determine whether the company was negligent in a manner that contributed to or caused the employee’s death. If they find out that there were any safety violations, the company could have to pay a fine.

Families could claim death benefits after passing of 2 workers

The tragedy of losing a loved one to a fatal accident is devastating under any circumstances. When the death is the result of an accident that takes place at the person’s place of work, it might be due to the negligence of an employer. If this is the case, Colorado families may struggle to understand how an employer could allow something like this to happen. They might be able to collect death benefits as part of a workers’ compensation claim.

Two families from out-of-state might have the option of filing a claim for death benefits after the passing of their family members at the livestock feed plant where they worked. The accident apparently happened when some storage bins on the roof of the plant were overloaded and caused the building to fall in. Two men were killed, numerous additional employees suffered injury, and some had to be retrieved by firefighters. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation, as they typically do after a work-related fatality.

Colorado company fined in worker death, workman's comp possible

When an employee passes away while on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will normally investigate the incident. OSHA attempts to determine whether the employer violated any of OSHA’s safety regulations in a manner that might have resulted in the worker’s death. Often, a workman's comp claim for death benefits is also available to the deceased worker's surviving family. This is the case for one Colorado-based company after one of its employees died at one of its out-of-state factories, as OSHA representatives have levied additional fines to their original assessment.

The company in this story -- the Western Sugar Cooperative -- produces sugar at multiple factories around the country. Earlier this year, an employee fell to his death through an opening in the floor above a processing pit. OSHA investigated not long after the incident and cited Western Sugar with several violations related to safety violations. A follow-up investigation a short time later apparently revealed even more violations, totaling almost 40. The proposed fines against them now equal nearly a quarter of $1 million.

Potential workman's comp after construction employee's fatal fall

The construction industry is a vital part of modern life, here in Colorado and elsewhere. Workers in this field likely know that some dangers might exist in the performance of their duties, but they still have a reasonable expectation that their employers will do whatever they can to minimize any risks. If they are injured or killed, they (or their family in the event of a fatality) could file a workman's comp claim. This is the option facing one family now that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is asking questions about an out-of-state construction worker who had a fall that proved fatal.

The young worker was on a construction site when the accident happened. No speculation has been made regarding the reason for his fall. OSHA is also uncertain of the details of the man’s particular project and of the height from which he fell.

Improved firefighter safety could reduce need for workman's comp

Colorado first responders, such as police officers, firefighters and EMTs, are often required to put themselves in harm’s way for the good of the public. Though their jobs carry some of the highest amounts of physical risk, their employers are still expected to take any reasonable measure to keep them safe. If they are injured, workman's comp can help them with varying expenses resulting from the accident, or it can be paid to their family if they are killed. Some retired firefighters from out of state recently took it upon themselves to speak out regarding the safety of their still-working colleagues, saying that they may be facing unnecessary danger.

The five former fire managers began the campaign after 19 firefighters were killed in a large wildfire. According to them, firefighters are being routinely sent to emergencies without being properly prepared. They even claim that in many of the devastating fires that took the lives of multiple firefighters that no other losses were actually prevented, implying that their deaths might have been in vain. The former firefighters say that more oversight is needed and that supervisors need to properly assess the potential dangers before sending in first responders.

Colorado company may have OSHA violations, workman's comp

Workers who are injured on the job may fear precisely how the incident might affect their income. The injury could make it difficult or impossible for them to continue their duties, or require significant medical attention, all of which can cost an employee financially. Fortunately, workers’ compensation -- commonly called workman's comp -- exists to help those employees make ends meet until they can resume working. A recent accident here in Colorado involving a pipe worker may serve as a reminder that employees have options if they’ve been hurt on the job.

The worker was repairing a pipe as part of his job with Colorado Pipe Services. Standing in a trench, he apparently became trapped by a cave-in and was unable to move. The sand and dirt reportedly went all the way up to his waist, and rescue workers said that the weight of it made it impossible for the man to budge. Two hours later, he was freed and taken to a local hospital.

Possible workers' compensation for family of concrete employee

When an employee is injured or dies on the job here in Colorado, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration typically conducts an investigation into what precisely occurred. Its findings sometimes reveal that an employer compromised worker safety. The employer’s reasoning for doing so can vary, and could result in an employee needing to file for workers' compensation. OSHA is currently investigating an out-of-state accident that resulted in the death of a man who worked for a concrete company, attempting to determine if his employer was at fault for his passing.

According to officials, the accident happened on a recent morning when a concrete tunnel had been elevated above the man in the area where he was working. For an unknown reason, the culvert slipped and fell on top of him. He did not survive and passed away there at the scene. Local police declared that the incident was an accident and have not announced any potential criminal charges, but the story does not end there.

Occupational noise: The silent workplace safety hazard?

When people think about workplace safety and health hazards, there are probably a few vivid examples that come to mind. Most of these musings are likely very clear health threats, such as chemical exposure, heavy equipment or long-term bodily wear and tear.

However, exposure to high levels of noise is a serious workplace health issue that people might not think much about. Being exposed to constant noise on the job may not present a problem after a day, but over time it can create irreversible hearing damage.

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