Worker in Durham is hit by falling beam

Construction work is considered one of the most hazardous jobs in the country -- and with good reason. Workers labor with heavy materials, often maneuver heavy equipment in dangerous areas and work at unprotected heights. Just this month in Durham, a worker was seriously injured while on break in a freak accident.

A 48-year old construction worker was on break about 3:30 in the afternoon, and was in a porta-potty. A beam that was five stories high fell and hit the enclosed structure with him inside. The porta-potty was crushed and the worker seriously injured. The worker was employed by ACME Plumbing Co., which was subcontracting under Barnhill Contracting Company.

The accident is currently under investigation by the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Department, which could take up to six months for a final report. A public information officer from the North Carolina Department of Labor says this a very unusual accident. According to the Labor Department regarding any citations or fault, they say it is too early to tell.

The worker is still at Duke Hospital with serious injuries. He has already undergone one operation on his brain. Barnhill Contracting Company offered support to ACME Plumbing Company, as well as their thoughts and prayers to the worker and his family.

Regardless of any fault or citations, when a worker is injured on the job, they are covered by the company's workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance should pay for any medical treatment the worker receives. The insurance company is also responsible for other damages to the worker's livelihood, such as loss of wages.

Workers' compensation has strict rules regarding medical treatment, including which doctors the victim can use. Families or injured workers often disagree with the treatment or run into problems getting treatment approved promptly. Workers' compensation insurance companies also may try to settle with the injured worker or family by paying a settlement amount, and signing an agreement releasing them from future medical bills.

Families or injured workers can benefit from having a workers' compensation attorney deal with the insurance companies on their behalf. A worker's compensation attorney can ensure that the insurance company provides the necessary treatment and compensates the injured worker and/or his or her family properly and timely.

Source: WNCN, "State, federal officials investigate after falling beam injures Durham worker," Derrick Lewis, Nov. 11, 2017

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