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Two Pennsylvania pipe workers are injured by heavy equipment

Two colleagues were working in an area where pipes were being inserted into the ground in Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline in Westmoreland County when they suffered struck-by injuries at around 11:16 p.m. on Dec. 9.

The pipe workers, one female and one male, were in the process of pulling a piece of equipment referred to as a “pig” through the pipeline that underlies Gombach Road and Main Street when it suddenly struck them both. The Wisconsin-based Precision Pipeline workers had been using the machinery to clean the interior of the pipes as they were put into place when the incident occurred.

Paramedics arriving at the incident scene in Penn Township, an area that lies just 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, were able to treat and release the female worker while there. Her male co-worker was transported to an area hospital with what’s been described as a broken arm. A spokesperson with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) later reported that the man was still at the hospital in stable condition.

The 20-inch pipe that the two workers were cleaning at the time of the incident forms part of a much larger system that will be used to transport liquid natural gas from Western Pennsylvania across to Philadelphia.

When it’s finished by year’s end, it will carry gas through Berks, Perry, Lancaster, Cumberland, York, Lebanon, Juniata and Dauphin counties.

Before this latest incident occurred, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection had previously suspended work on the project for 30 days because there had been several drilling mud spills and other violations. The project’s developer has already paid $12.6 million in fines for numerous other violations.

While many workers who get hurt on the job realize that they can claim workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical bills and lost wages, many don’t realize that they may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability as well. The two workers in this story got relatively lucky — they likely won’t have injuries that will haunt them for years to come. However, if their injuries had been worse, Social Security Disability could have provided valuable resources.

Are you unsure if you have a valid Social Security Disability claim? Talk to an experienced attorney about the issue today.

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