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OSHA investigates fatal accident at FSU construction site

Construction sites are often dangerous because of the use of heavy equipment, hazardous conditions, and excessive heights. In fact, construction workers have some of the highest rates of workplace fatalities.

A recent, sad illustration of that fact was the death of a 25-year-old man employed by Culpepper Construction, a subcontractor on a building site at Florida State University in Tallahassee. According to FSU Police and the Florida State Police, the fatal accident occurred when the worker was trapped between a moving elevator and a building that was under construction. The victim was a Culpepper plumber.

The construction company notified the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding the incident shortly after the worker was declared dead at the scene by emergency personnel, according to FSU Police. An OSHA spokesperson said that contractors are required to report all casualties within eight hours of their occurrence. Investigators spoke with the man's managers, coworkers and other witnesses at the scene. An investigation must be completed within 6 months.

OSHA has confirmed that the company has been under review nine times since July 2004 for a variety of workplace safety violations. Recently, OSHA received complaints about the subcontractor following a fall accident in February. Culpepper Construction was cited three times for safety violations regarding ladders, eyewear and training in 2010.

For a family, a fatal workplace accident is no different from a deadly car accident or other unexpected and sudden death. The challenges of a workplace death can be significant for a surviving family, who often must struggle with its financial and emotional well-being. The consequences of a fatal accident can be lessened through a wrongful death claim, though, especially if employer negligence played a role in the incident. A wrongful death lawsuit might lead to reasonable compensation that may help family members recover financially from their loss, allowing them to find financial stability in a time of emotional upheaval.

Source: FSUnews "Man dies in FSU construction accident ," July 30, 2014

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