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One worker killed, one injured in Pennsylvania water tower

The phrase "workplace accident" is often associated with a particular location; people usually tend to imagine construction sites or factory floors. While it's true that these places are common sites for accidents, workplace injuries can also occur at remote work sites, such as windmills or radio towers. Indeed, as a tragedy proved, workplace accidents at these remote locations are often the most serious of all.

A work crew tasked with repairing a water tower in Lower Providence Township met with disaster recently as two members of the three-man crew fell into the empty tank. One worker was killed immediately. The other was wearing a safety harness and only fell partway into the tank. He hung suspended in the harness for over three hours while rescue crews struggled to reach him.

A dozen emergency response vehicles were involved in the rescue effort, which included individuals from three townships. The nature of the rescued man's injuries has not been made public.

The tank had been drained on the day of the accident to allow the workmen to perform maintenance on the structure. It is unclear what caused the two men to fall, but an official from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was reportedly opening an investigation.

Though construction sites and factory floors are often associated with workplace accidents, injuries incurred at any work site will qualify for worker's compensation benefits. These benefits are often offered automatically after an accident, though occasionally the claim of an injured worker will be denied. In this situation, injured workers may need to seek legal assistance to ensure that their claims receive the proper compensation.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "One Dead, One Rescued in Pa. Water-Tower Mishap," Aubrey Whelan and Carolyn Davis, Dec. 6, 2012

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