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Scaffold fall causes fatal work injury to construction worker

Falls from scaffolds are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and even deaths. Employers who violate the strict safety regulations that are prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration put the lives of their workers on the line, creating conditions for a potential work injury. In addition to ensuring that all materials used to construct a scaffolding structure are of the required standard, workers must be provided with fall protection and trained to operate the protection equipment in the proper way.

The recent death of a construction worker in Pennsylvania could likely have been avoided had the worker been tethered by a safety harness. A preliminary assessment of the accident indicates that workers were on the scaffold approximately 100 feet above ground level. They were taking a break from restoring bricks on a hospital's exterior wall and had removed some of the scaffold planking to place at a lower level of the structure, replacing it with plywood.

It is suspected that the thin plywood broke when a worker stepped onto it, causing him to fall to his death. The media report makes no mention of the worker wearing a fall harness. OSHA is reportedly investigating the accident and will determine whether any safety violations were committed.

When a Pennsylvania worker dies from a work injury, the surviving family members may be entitled to pursue death benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. Covered dependents will receive compensation to cover end-of-life expenses. A financial package to assist the loved ones with living expenses may be included, and it is typically based on the deceased worker's latest level of pay or salary.

Source: timesleader.com, "Worker dies after fall from scaffolding at hospital project", July 9, 2015

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