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Bridge worker sustains workplace injury on bridge painting job

Work on a large municipal bridge is another activity that requires intensive enforcement of safety measures. Bridge work in Illinois encounters some of the same problems seen in all states. A major bridge in another metropolitan area has been the recent scene of workplace injury and the strange collapse of supportive structures during a re-painting project. Recently, a painter was injured on the job while he was working in the containment system, which is an enclosed area on the underside of a bridge that keeps paint chips and contaminants from falling into river below.

The state’s bridge authority stopped work until the contractor can show that the workers are safe. That decision comes after another accident a few weeks ago when two workers were found dangling over the river in their safety harnesses after the supports beneath them gave way. The workers were able to climb to safety without workplace injury. Although the bridge authority admitted the two incidents were unrelated, a spokesperson also cautioned that it doesn’t ‘believe in coincidences’.

The location is the Newburgh-Beacon bridge over the Hudson River in New York. OSHA is currently investigating the earlier incident. The bridge authority indicated that OSHA inspected the site and found no problems several months ago. Bridge workers in Illinois and other states are protected from workplace injury by state and federal safety rules and standards that must be followed by contractors. In these cases, a state’s bridge authority also enforces safety rules.

The law in Illinois law and elsewhere requires that a worker sustaining a workplace injury must be paid workers’ compensation benefits until the worker’s doctors release him back to work. However, the employer’s insurance carrier may try to expedite the worker back to work by obtaining a so-called ‘independent’ medical examination by its own doctor. This may create a conflict between the carrier’s expert who says you can work and your treating physician who says that you’re still disabled. If you face that kind of a conflict, it’s time to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to obtain a full evaluation of your rights and options, and to take appropriate action in your behalf.

Source: recordonline.com, “Injured painter rescued on Newburgh-Beacon Bridge,” Michael Randall, June 7, 2013

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