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Workers' compensation: Deaths continue despite OSHA enforcement

There is much evidence that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working to protect employees for the past 45 years. However, every day workers' compensation claims are filed by victims of occupational illnesses and injuries. Sadly, many of the claims are filed for death benefits by grieving families whose loved ones were killed in workplace accidents.

It is reported that every day about 150 worker deaths take place nationwide. Reportedly, last year, 39 Iowa workers were killed in work-related incidents. Some believe that more funds must be made available to OSHA to enable the agency to do even more for workplace safety and the enforcement of compliance with prescribed safety regulations.

Families should not have to fear that they will never see loved ones again after they leave for work in the morning. With the high number of employers who disregard safety regulations, thousands of workers are exposed to unsafe work environments with unsecured trenches, unprotected moving machine parts, working at heights without fall protection and more. Also, some are exposed to chemical hazards, and health care workers have to deal with the dangers of exposure to blood borne pathogens.  Violence at the workplace is also a growing threat in more and more industries.

The Iowa workers' compensation insurance system allows the surviving family members of workers who lost their lives in on-the-job accidents to file death benefits claims. The insurance program typically provides assistance with the costs related to end-of-life arrangements, along with coverage for medical expenses, if the deceased worker received medical care before passing away. Also, dependents usually receive a financial package that is based on the deceased worker's wage level to assist with day-to-day living expenses for a specified period after the worker's death.

Source: desmoinesregister.com, "Americans face workplace dangers every day", Mark Cooper, April 28, 2016

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