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You Shouldn't Have To Fight For Workers' Comp Benefits

Philadelphia Work accident site deemed illegal on all levels

There's a construction worker reportedly in an induced coma in a Philadelphia hospital right now, this after he suffered an electrical jolt early last week. According to officials with the Office of Licenses and Inspections, "Everything was being done illegally, without proper permits."

One question this may raise among readers is whether the scope of wrongdoing in this case may extend to the contractors involved lacking the necessary workers' compensation insurance. Such coverage is required by law to ensure that someone hurt on the job gets the care they need and can be compensated for likely lost wages. The answer to the question in this case is not clear.

According to city officials, the 35-year-old bricklayer for an Upper Darby plaster and stucco firm was on the roof of the house at 1806 W. Montgomery Ave. last Tuesday. He was thrown from the roof after he touched exposed power lines. He reportedly suffered burns severe enough to warrant treatment in the hospital burn unit. He also broke his back.

A representative with the bricklayers union, who knows the injured man, says the victim was working non-union jobs because he needed the income. He says when he visited the man in the hospital last week, he found that doctors had him in an induced coma. He said that was being done to get him stable enough so that surgery could be performed on his neck and back.

This is not the first time this contractor has been cited for unsafe work sites. It's reported that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed fines of nearly $86,000 against the firm in September for "repeated" safety violations at a South Philadelphia site. There was another citation carrying an even higher penalty assessment at another site in November. And OSHA says there are other violations on the books going back to 2010.

City L&I officials say they have shut down all work at the most recent home site and plan to hold an administrative hearing on the whole matter.

Source: Philly.com, "PhillyDeals: Worker hurt at what city calls illegal construction site," Joseph N. DiStefano, Dec. 5, 2013

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