According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are a leading cause of workplace deaths. Falls represent 39% of all construction workplace deaths and account for around 350 deaths in construction jobs per year.
OSHA requires employers to set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling and injuring themselves. Employers are required to provide fall protection for overhead platforms, for elevated work stations, and near holes in floors and walls. Fall protection must be provided for elevations of four feet or higher in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in construction workplaces, and eight feet in long-shoring operations. Employers must also provide fall protection if employees are working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of height.
Georgia Woman Falls to Death in Lowndes County
A 28-year-old woman recently fell to her death as she was working on a billboard in Lowndes County, Georgia. According to one news source, the young woman had been doing routine maintenance on the billboard on Interstate 75 when she fell. An OSHA spokesperson said that her death was still under investigation.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Death of Family Member
Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, if an employee suffers a work-related injury, the employee is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In the tragic case that an employee dies from a work-related incident, the employee’s family members may be entitled to benefits. Under the Act, the employer is generally required to cover the employee’s burial expenses, as well as weekly compensation for the employee’s dependents.
Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws frequently change, but according to today’s law, for the burial expenses, an employer is required to pay the reasonable expenses of the employee’s burial up to $7,500.00. For the weekly benefits, if an employee’s dependents are dependent on the employee’s earnings at the time of the injury, the dependents may receive weekly compensation, which will generally be two-thirds of the employee’s weekly average, up to $575 per week. If a spouse is the employee’s only dependent at the time of their death, the spouse can receive a maximum of $230,000.
Even in the event of an employee’s death, an employer may dispute family members’ claims. For example, an employer may claim that the death was not work-related or that certain treatments prior to the death were not necessary. A claimant has the burden to prove that the death resulted from an accident arising out of and in the course of employment, or the death resulted from a period of disability caused by an accident.
Did Your Family Member Suffer a Fatal Workplace Injury?
If your loved one passed away after a workplace injury, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to death benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, including burial expenses and weekly compensation. At the Georgia law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., our attorneys have decades of collective experience handling workers’ compensation claims. To learn more about how we can help you seek the workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive, call us for a free consultation at 404-303-7770.