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Bridge collapse leave 3 workers injured, 1 of them severely

In a tragic example of an ordinary workday turned bad, three contractors received injuries when Pennsylvania's Ridgeway Bridge on U.S. Route 219 collapsed on June 18. Reports about the collapse began to circulate at around 2 p.m., many of them citing multiple injuries at the scene of the accident. A spokesperson with the contracting company later confirmed three workers were injured, one of them a company employee and two others identified as subcontractors.

The bridge has been undergoing construction work involving a replacement of its superstructure since March of this year. Reports, including a video of the incident, indicate that the bridge's roadway collapsed abruptly, taking the three workers down. Unofficial reports from unnamed entities say one injured worker suffered from shock and another from a sprained ankle. The most serious of the injuries by far appears to be a head injury, according to unofficial sources.

Fortunately, the three workers landed on some decking that had been put in place under the roadway, which prevented all three from falling all the way into the creek bed. Estimates say the workers fell an approximate distance of 20 feet before striking the deck material. Speculation is ongoing about the bridge's ability to withstand the heavy equipment contractors used for the project but at this time, no one seems to know precisely what happened.

It is common knowledge that training, proper safety inspections and due diligence are some of the best ways to prevent workplace accidents. However, accidents can occur despite the best efforts of employers and workers. Pennsylvania employees who experience difficulties receiving benefits after an accident should not forfeit their claim to workers' compensation benefits. Consulting with a local attorney can result in successfully filing a claim and receiving the benefits they are due after a workplace accident.

Source: The Bradford Era, "3 hurt, one seriously in Ridgway bridge collapse," Colin Deppen and Marcie Schellhammer, June 18, 2015

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