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Serious injuries cause death of man unhooked from fall protection

On March 13, a 37-year-old employee of a company that does window framing lost his life on the job at a New York construction site. He suffered serious injuries in a fall that turned out to be fatal. The incident occurred in Schenectady County in the town of Niskayuna where a crew of workers was doing carpentry work.

Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the workers were positioned on a narrow ledge that was 24-feet above ground level. It was determined that, although the worker was wearing a fall harness, he was not secured to an anchor point at the time of his fall. Investigators said a co-worker reported that the line used to arrest a fall got tangled around the worker's leg. In his attempt to untangle the cord, he reportedly unhooked himself, lost his balance and fell to the ground.

Emergency crews reportedly arrived and rushed the injured worker to a waiting emergency helicopter that transported him to the medical center in Albany. Although he survived the life-flight, he succumbed to his injuries later that day. Federal safety investigators determined that the subcontractor that employed the man failed to provide workers with training in the importance of using fall protection, and also the proper way to use it.

The surviving family members of any worker who died after suffering serious injuries will be entitled to pursue financial assistance to help with unanticipated expenses. They may file death benefits claims with the New York workers' compensation insurance system. Benefits typically cover the costs related to end-of-life arrangements and also lost income. The wage replacement package will be based upon a percentage of the deceased worker's weekly wage.

Source: dailygazette.com, "OSHA: Worker unhooked himself in Niskayuna construction fatality", Daniel Fitzsimmons October, Oct. 25, 2016

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