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Fatal fall through skylight days after similar workplace injury

When two similar on-the-job accidents occur on the same Illinois job site within days, it seems clear that the employer has disregarded the safety of employees. By addressing the safety hazard after one employee suffered a workplace injury on Nov. 3, the death of another worker might have been prevented. Sadly, this was not the case, and one family now has to cope with the sudden death of a loved one.

A report by emergency workers indicates that the fire department rushed to the scene of a reported workplace accident shortly before 8 a.m. on Nov. 12. The incident happened at a site where work was being performed on a warehouse roof. A man had fallen through a skylight, and emergency workers said the victim's multiple injuries were traumatic. The 20-year-old worker succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 15.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended the roofing license for this project immediately after this incident. The concern was the fact that the previous incident also involved a worker who fell through a skylight on the same roof. That worker may have been a teenager. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said an investigation would be launched into both incidents to assess the employer's compliance with safety regulations.

The deceased worker's surviving loved ones will be entitled to pursue financial relief to assist with end-of-life arrangements. They may file claims for death benefits with the Illinois workers' compensation insurance system. The employee who suffered a workplace injury in the first incident can also file benefits claims to recover medical expenses. In both cases, the insurance program may provide wage-replacement packages to make up for a portion of lost wages.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Investigation launched after worker's fatal fall from Waukegan warehouse", Frank Abderholden, Nov. 15, 2016

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