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Forklift strike causes fatal workplace injury to Illinois worker

Whenever workers on foot share their work areas with forklifts, the chances of tragedies exist. The dangers of such circumstances were underscored by the recent death of a worker at the construction site of a suburban reservoir in Illinois. A 55-year-old carpenter died when a forklift struck him, causing a fatal workplace injury.

The medical examiner of Cook County pronounced the worker's death on a recent Monday afternoon. Reportedly, a forklift struck the man during snow clearing operations in the parking area at the Deep Tunnel construction project. An autopsy apparently indicated that his death was the result of multiple injuries.

The contracting company that employed the deceased worker is now working with local and state authorities in the investigation. These include the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, local police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. While the other authorities will investigate the possibility of criminal intent, OSHA will likely focus on the compliance with safety regulations by all those present on the construction site.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the surviving family members of the deceased carpenter will be able to pursue assistance with their unanticipated financial losses -- regardless of whose fault caused the fatal workplace injury. They may file death benefits claims with the Illinois workers' compensation insurance system. This will provide them with compensation to cover the high costs of the funeral and burial. Furthermore, they will receive a financial package for a limited period to help with financial obligations such as rent and utilities along with daily living expenses.

Source: abc Chicago, "Worker fatally struck by ATV at 'Deep Tunnel' site in Summit", Dec. 13, 2016

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