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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.

Overall, OSHA is concerned that this industry involving cell tower workers is experiencing a significant number of deaths across the country. In 2013, there were 13 deaths that were connected to work on cell towers. That number is higher than the combined total of deaths from the previous two years. OSHA says that many of the incidents were preventable and want to remind companies that these jobs are already dangerous, even when safety regulations are obeyed.

If anyone here in Colorado has lost a loved one after a fall from a cell tower, or if a worker in this field has been injured, a workers' compensation claim is likely a potential means of achieving important financial relief. Workman's comp can be used to offset lost wages, pay for medical expenses and cover other costs that might result from such an accident. A tragedy like this one could happen to anyone, but it is important that workers and their families know that legal options exist when an on-the-job accident results in injury or death. In fatal accidents, the fallen worker's family is usually entitled to death benefits, including a lost income package for covered dependents.

Source: wvgazette.com, "OSHA cites company in cell tower deaths", Ken Ward Jr., July 31, 2014

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