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A crane on a barge.

Construction workers building and repairing roads have physically demanding and dangerous jobs that expose them to serious risks of workplace injury. Highway work zones are especially dangerous places for workers. It’s fitting that one of those fallen workers has a highway named for him.

Construction worker Patrick Bray, who was an employee of Walsh Construction Company and lived in Jerseyville, Ill., died of injuries in 2013 after being struck by a 55-gallon drum while working on the repair of the Blanchette Bridge over the Missouri River at St. Charles. At the time of the accident, Bray was working on a barge at a construction staging area downstream from the bridge when a crane lifting the 55-gallon drum dropped the load.  The sudden accidental death of a loved one can be devastating to families.

According to a report in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bray’s family wanted to honor their lost loved one and Bray’s sister Joy Bray pursued the idea of a highway sign. Bray’s sister told the newspaper that they missed him and respected the work that he did. The family raised money to help make the sign happen, a wonderful gesture by the family of a fatally injured construction worker.

Bray’s family and friends of the workers gathered March 19 at the Missouri Department of Transportation in Chesterfield to unveil the highway sign naming the Patrick J. Bray Memorial Highway. The sign will be put up along Highway 370, between Interstate 70 and Third Street.

Cranes Cause Many Injuries in Construction Accidents

Cranes and hoists move large, heavy loads at worksites. Although important machinery, cranes cause far too many injuries and deaths of construction workers.

Earlier this year, a construction worker was killed in a workplace accident involving a crane at a construction site where a commercial warehouse addition was being built in Edwardsville. The worker was crushed by the weight of the crane boom.

Cranes may tip over or the boom could collapse if the crane is overloaded or if the outriggers are improperly placed.

Many more serious crane accidents are caused by falling loads.  Construction workers working in the drop zone of a crane are vulnerable to serious accidents. Construction contractors should not allow workers to work underneath suspended loads. A raised load being moved by crane can strike a worker in the head or back, causing serious head and neck injuries. Improper rigging of a load of cargo or a rigging failure can expose workers to the hazard of falling cargo.

If a load is not well secured or the crane rigging fails, the load can plummet to the deck or ground suddenly, causing head, crushing, or fatal injuries to nearby workers.

Construction workers injured in a workplace accident are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault. The families of workers who are killed in workplace accidents are entitled to certain statutory death benefits. You may also be legally entitled to file a wrongful death claim, if the accident was caused by a party other than your direct employer, such as a subcontractor working on the same jobsite.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an on-the-job accident in Missouri or Illinois, have a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney review the specifics of the accident and explain your legal rights.

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