The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in charge of setting the regulations that govern workplace safety. Similarly, they are often the party called in to investigate, lay out changes and deliver penalties when there is a significant accident at a workplace.
Earlier this month, OSHA accused the bridge builders in connection with a construction worker’s death in March of this year, of four serious safety violations. Additionally, they recommend that the companies in question be fined $15,300 for these violations.
The construction worker was killed when the machinery he was operating on fell into the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. The fall temporarily stopped construction of the cable-stayed new Mississippi River Bridge as divers toiled to retrieve the body of the victim off the Illinois banks of the Mississippi.
The majority of the violations center on the use of the aerial lift that plummeted into the water. According to OSHA officials the lift was “placed on a barge and used by employees without following all manufacturers’ requirements for safe use.” It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that worksites are safe and employees are properly trained in the handling of construction equipment.
While the companies are seeing penalties, families of victims that are killed in a similar manner likely do not feel the justice that they seek when a loved one has been taken from them. While families should be able to collect workers’ compensation death benefits, which would work to replace lost income, there is also the possibility that if there are additional cases of negligence on behalf of a third party which contributed to the death of the worker, the family may be able to seek additional compensation as well.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Bridge builders face fines over worker’s death,” Ken Leiser, Oct. 5, 2012