Construction workers typically face many obstacles every day as a common component of their workplace. Heavy equipment, dangerous conditions and even the weather can all be detrimental to their safety. When someone is injured on the job, or even dies, it is necessary to examine the circumstances that allowed it to happen so that they are not later repeated with similar results.
An Illinois man died recently of heat stroke that he suffered while employed with an electrical contractor who was working on the CTA Red Line. The man became sick on his first day of work as he handled transportation and installation of pipe needed for the renovation efforts. He collapsed and was taken to a local hospital where he died the next day. The autopsy report lists heat stroke as the cause of death.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claims that the electrical contracting company did not have a program in place that dealt with extreme heat and its associated danger to their workers. OSHA said the company should have done more to ensure the injured man had time to adjust to the heat and the physical needs of his job. They have levied several thousand dollars worth of fines.
The company countered that they have a heat illness program in place that goes above and beyond what is required. They say the plan was enforced, and that fines are not an acceptable response to what had happened. They plan to dispute OSHA’s findings.
When someone is injured on the job in Illinois, their employer should be held to a high standard of accountability. This is especially true when that injury results in death. In this case, the man’s family may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. While compensation won’t change what happened, it could provide the family with the means to move past the accident and its consequences.
Source: Chicago Tribune, Libertyville contractor faces fine in Red Line worker death, Ameet Sachdev, Dec. 2, 2013