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Barge causes Eads Bridge scaffolding fall that kills worker

A company in Missouri that specializes in painting industrial structures is being investigated for safety violations after the recent death of a worker. This is not the first life lost in a scaffolding fall during painting projects undertaken by this company. Previously, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited it for several deaths that followed workplace accidents in 2006.

In Feb. 2006, a scaffolding collapse under the Jefferson Barracks Bridge caused four workers to fall into the river channel -- three were rescued, and the body of the fourth worker was recovered two months later. In May of the same year, a worker fell through a gap in the scaffold decking and suffered fatal injuries. Barely two months later, an employee fell to his death while dismantling a scaffolding structure.

In the latest incident, a worker was vacuuming under the Eads Bridge when the scaffolding structure on which his was standing was struck by a barge that was traveling on the Mississippi River. The worker was knocked off the scaffold, and this resulted in his death. OSHA indicated that its investigation will focus on whether safety violations caused this tragedy.

Such an unexpected death of a loved one in a scaffolding fall or other workplace accident naturally brings about many challenges for the surviving family members. Along with emotional trauma, they will be faced with funeral and burial expenses while having to cope without the deceased worker's income. They may be entitled to pursue compensation by filing a claim for death benefits with the Missouri workers' compensation insurance fund. The benefits typically cover end-of-life costs and a financial package to assist with living expenses of covered dependents.

Source: kfvs12.com, "OSHA investigating death of laborer working on Eads Bridge", Amber Ruch, July 17, 2015

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