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Due to Lack of Safety Measures, Worker Fatally Injured While on the Job


Emergency crews have recovered the body of a man trapped inside a trench in a residential area in Altoona.

Altoona police say 30-year-old Justin Jorgensen, of Colfax, was killed after the trench he was working in collapsed just after 8 a.m. Wednesday. It took crews more than six hours to recover his body.

"Initially, it came out as a rescue but once we got on scene we could tell by visual cues that this was going to turn into a recovery," Altoona Police Sgt. Jason Ferguson said.

Jorgensen was working in the trench that was between 10 and 12 feet deep with an excavating tool when the dirt caved in. The collapse happened while workers were digging water and sewer lines.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require there to be a trench wall in areas more than 5 feet deep. The trench Jorgensen was working in did not have a trench wall, authorities said.

OSHA officials said it will take weeks before the investigation is complete and a citation could be issued.

It seems very apparent that proper safety precautions were not in place...and due to that, a very hard working employee suffered an incredibly tragic accident.

Did the employer properly train their workers to work in the trench? Did the employer know that their employees were in harms way while working in the trench?

All of these factors will have to be taken into consideration, but what's most important here is that a family is now trying to cope with the loss of their loved one.

In Iowa, death benefits are payable to the dependents of the employee. Benefits are first payable to the surviving spouse for life or until remarriage. Dependent children are entitled to the benefits until they reach age 18, or age 25 if they are actually dependent.

Others may qualify, if there is a showing of actual dependency. Upon remarriage, if there are no dependent children, the surviving spouse is entitled to a two-year lump sum settlement. Burial expenses not to exceed twelve times the statewide average weekly wage in effect at the time of death are paid in addition to the weekly death benefits.

If you've been injured while on the job...or maybe you've had a loved one who was injured on the need to know your rights. Employers & insurance companies are rarely forthcoming when it comes to providing you with information.

We fight for you...we will continue to fight for you...and will do so until you've received the compensation that you are rightfully entitled to!

Call Eric, Randy, or Sarah at 515-225-4485, and let them take the time to over your claim with you, let them hear your concerns, and together we can explore all the possible actions.

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