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Workplace accidents claim too many Massachusetts lives

Two electrical power line workers were killed after falling from the basket of their boom vehicle. The Massachusetts men have now become two more victims of workplace accidents. The company and OSHA are investigating how this tragic accident may have happened.

The men were engaged in maintaining electrical lines that were strung across a canal. They were up approximately 140 feet when their vehicle abruptly tilted back on its rear tires. The two workers are believed to have landed in a hole that was 30 feet below the ground surface. Emergency workers found the truck sitting up on its aft bumper and the men were declared deceased at the scene.

Reports indicate that the company was inspected by OSHA nine years ago. At that time, the safety agency found three violations, all of which were listed as serious, with two concerning the operation of boom vehicles. The company did pay a fine of less than $1,000 and purportedly resolved the issues. Now, OSHA is working to determine how this truck upended and caused these two workers to lose their lives.

According to federal rules, the investigation into this incident must be completed within 180 days. Regardless of what the agency discovers, this accident has now left two grieving families behind, including two young children of one of the men. The suffering family members will likely be entitled to receive death benefits from the Massachusetts workers' compensation insurance program. This program is in place to help protect workers and their families who are adversely affected by workplace accidents. It is meant to pay for medical care and at least a portion of lost wages during the time they are recovering and unable to work -- or for potentially longer in the event a worker dies and can no longer provide for dependent family members.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Electrical linemen mourned after Bourne accident", Jeremy C. Fox, April 14, 2014

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