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Workplace accidents: Energized power line kills 2 tree trimmers

Energized power cables pose severe safety hazards to workers in various industries. Construction workers are often injured -- and sometimes killed -- in workplace accidents when scaffolds and other structures are erected too close to power lines, and cranes are sometimes stationed in the restricted areas underneath power lines. Another industry that has to carefully assess work areas to identify this safety hazard is tree trimming companies. Workers are often tasked to clear away branches around electric lines without recognizing the life-threatening dangers this poses.

The California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently involved in an investigation into a workplace accident that claimed the lives of two workers. On a Saturday morning earlier this month, three workers were in the bucket of a crane that hoisted them to the height required to perform their duties. Reportedly, the men were trimming palm fronds when the crane made contact with the energized overhead power lines.

The bucket apparently caught fire, and two of the workers died in this accident. Investigators will determine whether the men were electrocuted or whether the fire caused their deaths. There is no mention of any injuries suffered by the third worker.

When California workers are killed in workplace accidents, their surviving family members are entitled to pursue financial assistance to enable them to afford the high costs of end-of-life arrangements. The workers' compensation insurance system allows dependents of deceased workers to file death benefits claims. Once it is confirmed that a worker's death was work-related, the insurance program will provide funds to pay for a funeral and burial along with a portion of lost income that will help with other financial obligations for a period following the death.

Source: kesq.com, "Identity released for one of two men killed in tree trimming accident", Jeff Stahl, March 17, 2016

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