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Untrained tree worker killed in on-the-job accident

Employers have a duty to ensure that their employees work in a safe environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations that employers in Georgia and other states have to comply with. Because construction sites generally pose serious dangers to workers, it is crucial to provide the workers with training to improve their understanding of the need for safety precautions, as well as the proper execution of safety precautions. Only by compliance with these safety regulations can yet another on-the-job accident be prevented.

Officials in another state recently investigated an accident where a 42-year-old man was killed after a large part of a tree struck him down. The deceased man was a construction laborer in the employ of a real estate investor who had several properties. On the day he was killed, he was part of a work team who had to remove a tree that was 60 feet high. It was reported that none of the workers were trained to perform the removal of such a large tree.

According to OSHA regulations, the employer should have had a qualified tree worker on duty to direct and oversee all work done on a tree higher than 15 feet. Furthermore, an aerial lift that extended to 80 feet was operated by untrained workers who were not supplied with protection for their eyes. Another punishable offense was the employer's apparent failure to issue the workers with harnesses to protect them from fall injuries.

Although the employer of the deceased man received steep fines from OSHA, the family who lost their loved one in this on-the-job accident may be able to claim survivor benefits from workers' compensation. Similarly, Georgia residents who lose loved ones to work accidents may be able to claim such benefits. The benefits paid would usually cover medical and/or end-of-life expenses and a portion of lost wages, along with survivor benefits. This may not fill the gap left in the lives of his family, but it may help them to find closure and move forward.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "Cal/OSHA Fines Real Estate Company Over $91,000 Following Tree-Trimming Fatality", , April 15, 2014

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