Earlier this year, a fire raged in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. The building that burned was adjacent to a location where welders were attempting to repair a section of metal railing. It was a windy March day, and sparks from the welding machine quickly caused the building next door to be engulfed in flames.
According to a recent news article from My Fox Boston, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency responsible for policing workplace safety, fined the welding company $58,000 for safety violations.
The specific violations were that the company did not move the railing to a fire safe location prior to welding on such a windy day, did not use a safety monitor to make sure that the surrounding structures were not set on fire, and failing to provide fire safety training to employees.
Two of the Boston firefighters who responded to battle the fire were killed in the accident, including a BPD lieutenant. It has been reported that the construction company did not have a permit to weld in that location. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has not stated whether prosecutors intend to file criminal charges in connection with the deadly workplace accident.
OSHA has classified the 10 workplace safety violations as serious, which means that the employer knew or should have known that the safety breaches could result in serious injury or death. Several civil lawsuits have already been filed in connection with the fire.
Our on-the-job injury lawyers in Boston understand that most people associate workers’ compensation with situations where the employee was injured but is still alive. What many do not realize is that workers’ compensation can also be provided in the form of death benefits in the case of a fatal workplace accident.
Workers’ compensation death benefits are designed to compensate the victim’s family for the costs of any medical bills associated from the worker’s death, funeral expenses, and lost wages from what the employee would have performed had the accident not occurred.
These death benefits can be paid as either a lump sum payment, monthly payments, or in the form of an annuity. The amount and form of the payment will depend on the settlement reached between the victim’s family and the employer or his or her workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
It is important to understand that, even when the insurance company accepts liability, it will often use the stress of the situation on the families and the immediate need for money to settle the claim for less than the family is entitled. As we have seen time and time again, the insurance company generally cares far more about its profit-and-loss statement than the wellbeing of a deceased worker’s family.
One of the best things a deceased employee’s family can do to help insure a full and appropriate workers’ compensation settlement is contact an attorney who regularly handles these types of matters as soon as possible. It is best not to speak with the insurance company directly. Make sure that you have someone on your side who understands the tactics used by workers’ compensation carriers to fight for your rights to a fair settlement and, if necessary, litigate the case in court.
If you are injured on the job in Boston, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: (617) 777-7777.
Welding company at center of fatal Back Bay fire hit with workplace safety fines, September 19, 2014, Fox News Boston
More Blog Entries:
Boston Workplaces Need a Rescue Plan For Fall Injuries, July 10, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog