Workers' compensation benefits can help surviving family members

A spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported the outcome of an investigation that followed the death of a worker in the twin tunnel rail project last August. The worker suffered a fatal blow when a steel beam struck him in the head, and two contractors were fined and cited for safety violations. The spokesperson says several other tunnel-related injuries often lead to workers' compensation claims.

He says the hazards in this type of construction work include airborne contaminants that workers inhale, falling objects and cave-ins, among other potential risks. The two contractors that were found in violation of safety standards were involved in replacing rails, infrastructure refurbishment and signal system upgrades. Then, on Aug. 10, 2018, while using heavy equipment on the job, a worker lost his life.

Reportedly, one worker operated a rail crane that was used to push rail cars full of equipment into the tunnel. Investigators determined that the boom of the crane struck an overhead steel beam that was about 13 feet above the workers. The impact caused the shaft to become dislodged from the supporting brackets, and it fell onto a nearby worker who was crushed to death. Among other violations, investigators found that the crane operator lacked the necessary training and that other workers were unaware of safety procedures while working near a crane.

Nothing can ever replace a loved one killed in a work-related accident. However, the financial assistance that is available through the California workers' compensation system can ease the financial burden brought about by unanticipated end-of-life expenses and the sudden loss of income. An attorney with experience in this field can assist with the navigation of death benefits claims.

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