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Workplace accidents: Scaffold collapse kills contract worker

Hazards can exist in all industries nationwide, including in New York — many of them life-threatening. Two serious workplace accidents took place in one county of a neighboring state within four days. In the first incident, an employee of a hotel was injured when his hand got caught in a compactor, and, in the second, a worker died during a scaffolding collapse.

The latter accident occurred on a recent Saturday in a warehouse of a beauty supply company. Reportedly, a work crew was dismantling a steel scaffolding structure that was used to give workers access to shelving that had to be disassembled. For reasons yet to be determined, the scaffold collapsed, and one 36-year-old worker could not escape the falling steel sections.

Although all the other workers escaped injuries, the one man — who was reported to be a contract worker — suffered fatal injuries. Along with police officers and firefighters, paramedics and investigators of the county’s Fatal Accident Investigation Unit rushed to the scene. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration representative also arrived to investigate the cause of the accident.

When New York workers die in workplace accidents, their surviving families may suffer immediate financial challenges. Not only will they have to cope with the high costs of end-of-life arrangements, but also the sudden loss of income. In many cases, the deceased worker was the primary breadwinner, and the family may struggle without that financial support. Fortunately, help is available through the workers’ compensation insurance program that typically provides coverage for funeral and burial expenses along with the basic financial needs of the dependents. The financial package will be based on the deceased worker’s weekly income, and payment will be provided for a specified time following their loved one’s death.

Source:, “New Brunswick Man Dies After Scaffolding Collapses Inside Warehouse“, Charlie Kratovil, Sept. 3, 2016

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