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Excavator driver dies after structure collapses

A Pennsylvania construction worker operating an excavator sustained injuries that ultimately proved fatal in a Sept. 9 accident. The man was working at Holy Name/St. Mary's Church in Swoyersville when the construction accident took place close to 11:30 a.m. Reports did not say whether his actions caused the accident or if it was simply a result of the structural condition of the building.

According to Swoyersville police, the man was in the process of performing a task using an excavator when a portion of the church came down, raining bricks and steel beams on the excavator and the man inside. He was trapped inside the vehicle for an unspecified period of time as a result, and workers eventually succeeded in extricating him by cutting through a beam using a saw. Although he was later transported to the hospital, he perished while in care.

The man who died was the owner of the construction company that bore his name, which had previously been contracted to demolish the church. An investigation was initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the incident.

Workplace accidents that take place at construction sites can cause serious injury by virtue of the fact that the construction materials are often extremely heavy or placed at significant heights. In some cases, materials, embankments or walls may be insufficiently secured due to poor training or lack of adequate materials for securing them. Individuals who survive these incidents may be saddled with extensive medical costs that also affect their families. Workers' compensation attorneys may be able to assist victims in seeking compensation by investigating company histories and organizing strong court cases against employers that knowingly put employees at risk.

Source: Daily Journal, "Construction worker killed in NE Pa. church collapse; wall fell on him as he worked excavator", September 09, 2013

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