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2 painters die following water tower accident

Two Ohio workers were painting a water tower in Reily Township when they fell to their death on Oct. 24. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls and slips accounted for 16 percent of the 4,405 fatal work injuries that occurred in 2013. In Pennsylvania alone, falls, slips, and trips killed 25 workers.

The two deceased were contracted through V&T Painting and had been working on the tower for about a week at the time of their death. According to authorities, the scaffolding that held the two men as they worked suddenly collapsed, causing them to fall more than 150 feet. One man died on the scene, and the other was airlifted to a local hospital. He was reported to have succumbed to his injuries while en route to the hospital.

The names of the men have yet to be released, but both were reportedly very experienced at their jobs. Local authorities and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating the accident.

Slips and falls are one of the big four hazards for workers in construction-type settings, and falls account for 31 percent of on-the-job fatalities for contract workers. Employers have an obligation to test workplace equipment for safety and ensure that workers are properly trained on how to use the equipment. In this case, the family of a deceased victim may file for a workers' compensation claim in order to retrieve benefits. An attorney may be able to help each family file required forms, supply evidence and comply with certain time limits to recover death benefits.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics U.S. Department of Labor, "National census of fatal occupational injuries in 2013,"; Wxyz Detroit, "Two linked to Farmington Hills painting company dead after fall from Ohio water tower"; ABC News, "2 Painters Killed in Ohio Water Tower Accident," Oct. 25, 2014

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