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Fatal Wisconsin work accident spurs large OSHA fines

Two Wisconsin construction companies are facing serious fines after a work accident in July. The work accident took the life of a 35-year-old man and injured one other worker. One company has been cited by OSHA for several violations in the incident and fined over $100,000. The other faces fines over $13,000.

The deceased worker was a contractor. He was killed after being hit by a crane boom. The boom had overturned while workers were trying to lift a bridge girder that weighed several tons. The other worker involved in the incident was thrown out of the crane and landed on a barge. He suffered serious injuries in the accident.

Lunda Construction received the brunt of the fines and has been cited for several safety violations including failure to properly train workers, failing to attach the crane properly and other serious issues that appeared to have contributed to the deadly accident. The company has also been placed into an enforcement program for severe violators. This action appears to be much worse than the fines because companies who are placed in the program are designated as those who repeatedly fail to follow protocol and endanger its workers. When a company is placed on the list, it is likely it will undergo surprise inspections on a routine basis.

The fine Lunda faces represents the stiffest one leveled against a company in Wisconsin for several years. Families of workers involved in a work accident that results in death may be eligible to seek workers' compensation. Although they are likely not thinking about the financial impact yet, workers' compensation can help with costs associated with their loved one's death and may assist them as they begin to deal with the loss of their loved one and a major source of income.

Source: FDLReporter.com, "OSHA issues fines for Butte des Morts bridge fatality," Jan. 4, 2013

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