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Bloomington, Indiana

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Fred Schultz
Fred Schultz
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Man Dies in Workplace Crane Accident

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I was sorry to read about another workplace death involving a crane accident last week. According to the report, a worker fell over ninety feet to his death from a crane up in Gary.

A coroner says a Valparaiso man fell 90 feet from an overhead crane and died at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works.

The Lake County coroner’s office says 54-year-old Alexander Santoyo was pronounced dead of massive blunt force trauma about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tragically, serious workplace injuries and deaths frequently occur, especially in factories or on construction sites. There are many rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed to help keep workplaces safe. These rules are put in place to try and protect people. Often, though, they go unheeded. The (Indiana Occupational, Safety & Health Administration) IOSHA is looking into this particular tragedy and will issue a report of their findings in the near future.

Workplace injuries are obviously very, very difficult not only for the injured worker, but their families as well. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, there are also often serious readjustments that have to be made in life due to either the tragic loss of a spouse or parent, or learning how to deal with a severe injury. For example, when a father suffers a permanent back injury at his construction job, he has to learn a new skill or trade that does not require such demanding physical activity. This means that the family has to find a way to cope with lost income until the dad is able to either finds a new job or obtain disability benefits, while the dad also copes with dealing with the debilitating injury.

Worker’s compensation benefits are often available to help ease the transition, but they usually don’t cover the injured worker’s full loss. However, depending on how the injury occurred, the person or their family can sometimes make what is called a third-party liability claim. For example, if a worker is injured on the job because an employee of a different company did something wrong, then the injured person can bring a claim against the other company’s insurance, in addition to his own employer’s worker’s compensation benefits. Another example would be if a driver for a delivery company was in an auto accident while on the job, the delivery driver could receive worker’s compensation benefits, but also bring a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance.

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    We share the problem in Hawaii. OSHA and Hawaii and Florida government agencies continue to target cranes as a significant loss factor for the building industry, But aren’t losses the wrong focus? How do we create safe work environments?