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Illinois man dies in work-related accident while working on barge

Often, work-related deaths occur on construction sites due to the heavy equipment and dangerous conditions on those sites. However, work-related deaths are not limited to construction accidents only. They may also occur in offices, warehouses and other types of workplaces.

A recent work-related death involving an Illinois worker may be of interest to Chicago workers who may face similar dangers on the job. According to one report, the Illinois man was working on a towboat propeller on a barge in the Mississippi River before the accident happened. Unfortunately, the propeller's chain cracked due to tension and struck the worker. The 23-year-old man was plunged into the river, and his co-workers dragged him out of the water before emergency responders arrived.

As stated by the autopsy, the worker sustained blunt-force trauma to his pelvis. He was declared dead at the scene after efforts to revive him failed. The worker was employed by National Maintenance & Repair. The accident is still under investigation by police and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

When workplace accident happens, it is OSHA's duty to investigate the incident. This federal agency requires employers and business owners to formulate standards to guarantee workplace safety. With this, it is the obligation of the employer to maintain a safe workplace free from any dangerous or unsafe conditions that may cause accidents, injuries and illness to workers. If employers fail to address such hazards, they may be liable or financially responsible for any work-related accidents or deaths.

In the event of a workplace accident, the worker may be eligible to be compensated through the workers' compensation system. This compensation may help ease the victim's financial burdens. However, if it is a work-related death caused by the negligence of the employer, the family of the deceased may be able to recover lost wages, financial support and settlement for pain and suffering by means of a wrongful death claim.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Authorities ID worker killed while working on barge in Hartford," Nov. 16, 2012

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