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OSHA closes investigation of 2 deaths after building collapse

Chicago is home to one regional office of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. The federal agency investigates all kinds of work-related accidents, but it pays special attention to fatal accidents, which happen all too often in the construction business.

But even when OSHA rules that an employer was in violation of federal guidelines in a construction accident, it’s difficult for injured workers or their families to achieve a favorable outcome unless they have the help of an attorney.

OSHA’s assistant director in Chicago recently announced the closure of an investigation into two construction-accident deaths in Cleveland, Ohio, and the families of both men who died may need legal help in pursuing compensation.

The men were demolishing an 80-foot-tall building when it collapsed on them. On one of the upper floors of the building were heavy equipment and materials used in the production of concrete blocks. The men were using torches to cut support beams in the structure, and the weight at the top caused the building to collapse.

After an investigation, OSHA noted two violations: failure to properly remove walls and failure to properly prepare rigging. The agency fined the construction company $7,200. However, that fine will not be paid because one of the men killed in the accident was the company’s owner. Needless to say, this complicates matters in terms of workers’ compensation.

The owner’s cousin was the other accident victim, and anyone dependent on the income of either man may need to consult with an attorney who can go over the details of the accident and clarify the available options.