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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Workplace accidents could affect Georgia employees

For the second time in four months, a worker at the construction site of the new 49ers stadium was killed. According to investigators, the second worker died recently when a bundle of rebar he was unloading fell on top of him. The worker was an employee of a subcontractor working on the stadium, which is scheduled to open in July 2014. The first employee was killed in June when he was struck by a counterweight while working in an elevator shaft.

The death was deemed accidental, and OSHA cleared all employees to return to work the next day. However, some wondered if both deaths were the result of corners being cut and safety measures ignored to try and finish the stadium by the deadline. With the pressure to prepare for this monumental event, carelessness and haste may have contributed to this construction site accident.

After a work-related death the victims' families can suffer loss of income combined with funeral expenses. If some families are undocumented immigrants, they may be afraid to come forward to ask for legal help. But employers failing to maintain workplace safety can face fines and possible criminal charges.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76 fatal occupational injuries were reported in Georgia in 2012, and 38 of them occurred in the metro Atlanta area. Employees are covered by Worker's Compensation insurance the moment they set foot on the job, but they are required to report on-the-job accidents within 30 days or risk losing their benefits. A workers' compensation attorney may be able to help injured employees by explaining their rights and possibly negotiating for compensation on their behalf.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities"

Source: NY Daily News, "49ers stadium construction worker killed, becoming second death at Levi Stadium site", October 14, 2013

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