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OSHA investigates after people are fatally injured at work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes certain safety standards for nearly every industry around the country and here in Colorado. When people are fatally injured at work, the agency steps in and conducts an investigation to determine whether employers are adhering to OSHA's standards. The agency issues citations and assesses fines when violations are found

OSHA recently completed an investigation in another state after two men fell to their deaths while painting a 123-foot water tower. A hoist on the scaffolding failed, a nylon suspension rope gave way and the men fell with the scaffolding. It was discovered that the company that employed the men failed to provide them with the proper safety equipment.

It was OSHA's opinion that if the men had the equipment, they may have survived the accident. The investigation showed that the scaffolding was not properly constructed and other equipment in use was not up to safety standards. No one was there to conduct site inspections, and employees were not trained in safety procedures or the use of safety equipment. Violations -- including several serious ones -- were found at both of the Ohio company's locations.

The conclusions reached by OSHA may provide some answers to the victims' families. Answers, however, will not help them with the financial burdens incurred since their deaths. As is the case here in Colorado, they are likely entitled to workers' compensation death benefits. They could receive assistance with funeral and burial costs, along with a compensation package for the loss of the men's income as a result of their being fatally injured at work.

Source:, "OSHA cites company in painters' water tower deaths in Reily Twp.", Chelsey Levingston, April 22, 2015

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