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Construction workers' accidents: 2 killed in high winds

Citing that the regulations were bad for business and not necessary, representatives for the construction industry lobbied to have wind restrictions removed from regulations applied to crane use in another state. Because of that protest, the tougher restrictions were not renewed after they expired. People in California and across the country may be wondering if those rules forbidding crane operation during high winds would have prevented construction workers' accidents like the one that killed two men just before Thanksgiving.

One man was operating the crane from its cab while the other was directing the crane's movement with a flag from below. The crane had lifted a 6,500 pound steel I-beam to the fourth story of an apartment building on which the men were working. For unexplained reasons, the crane's rigging gave out, and the beam plummeted downward, landing on the crane's cab. The beam then fell onto the flagman below. The men died before emergency responders arrived.

One advocate for construction workers said that contractors in other areas had stopped operations because of the winds. Winds gusted over 30 mph in some parts of the city that day. Despite this, officials say their initial investigations refute the theory that winds played a role in the accident.

The two men, ages 47 and 43, were not home with their families for Thanksgiving. Their families are likely wondering how to carry on without them. Construction workers' accidents in California and elsewhere are covered by workers' compensation, so they can at least expect to receive death benefits and other financial assistance. To ensure those benefits are distributed quickly and completely, families of accident victims often consult an attorney for help.

Source: The New York Times, "2 Workers Killed in Construction Accident in Queens", Eli Rosenberg & John Surico, Nov. 22, 2016

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