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Pennsylvania building collapse leaves three workers injured

Investigations are under way by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the scene of a building collapse that occurred Monday in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and resulted in three work injuries.

Suffering an injury on-the-job can lead to a number of challenges for the injured worker. Not only are there the physical injuries, but there are costs related to medical treatment and possible therapy as well as the wages lost during recovery.

The building was partially under construction at the time of the collapse, and two of the men carrying plywood were trapped under the destruction, according to a news report. They were transported the hospital with several injuries.

The third man had been working above the ground when the collapse occurred. He got caught as he fell and was stuck hanging upside down. He eventually got himself down with only a few minor injuries.

It is still not apparent what specifically caused the building to collapse. One hypothesis is that a crane hit the side of the building. The collapse could also have occurred because of the additional weight from the plywood. Hopefully the investigation will answer that question.

This type of collapse can occur, according to one of the workers, when one part of the building's structure becomes compromised. The biggest question is whether this accident was a one-time occurrence or whether the structure could be compromised again. Are the workers at risk of future injuries?

As the workers recover from the accident, they may be faced with the challenges mentioned above: medical bills and lost wages. Given the nature of their work, they need to physically be able to lift and move things. Workers injured in a work accident can claim workers' compensation; these benefits can help with some of the costs related to their injuries.

Source: WTAE Pittsburgh: "Construction Collapse That Injured Workers Under Investigation," Aug. 29, 2011.

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