Loss of wages and burdening medical costs due to work-related injuries and illnesses are often paid through workers’ compensation benefits. However, when an employee dies in the course of performing a job, as two workers did recently in the Green Bay-area, surviving family members become the recipients of workers’ compensation death benefits.

Two separate, tragic, life-ending accidents in Green Bay happened within the same week. A 50-year-old city worker died after an accident while performing outdoor maintenance work. The second accident occurred when the employee of a subcontractor died in a crane accident at the site of a road construction project on U.S. 41.

The woman who worked for the city’s streets division suffered fatal injuries after becoming caught beneath the blades of an industrial-sized riding mower. She died at St. Vincent Hospital a day after the on-the-job accident.

Early media reports about the U.S. 41 workplace tragedy said a crane, positioned in the highway median, toppled over onto a construction worker. Police did not confirm or deny a crane had fallen. Investigators from the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department, the Brown’s County Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin State Patrol released little information to the public, referring to the event as a crane accident without detailing how the accident occurred.

Officials confirmed the man was the employee of a construction subcontractor, Lunda Construction Company of Black River Falls. Lunda shares some of the workload of the $200 million, Green Bay-to-Milwaukee highway improvement project with primary contractor, Michels Corporation.

The $56 million Green Bay portion of the project began last month with the closure of the shoulders of the road on both sides of U.S. 41 near Scheuring Road.

Investigators from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration were at the crane accident site. OSHA will determine if a work safety issue was responsible for the fatal on-the-job event.

Source: manitowochub.htrnews.com, “Worker killed in Highway 41 construction mishap involving crane at Scheuring Road near Green Bay,” April 20, 2012