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Federal shutdown may increase workplace injury in Colorado

The federal government shutdown is affecting some individuals more than others. For example, one function that the federal government carries out through the Labor Department will halt for the time being - workplace safety investigations. Workplace safety is important for people living in Colorado and elsewhere and these federal investigations play a vital role in the prevention to workplace injury. It is hoped that the federal government reopens soon in order to continue with its vital work in this regard.

During the shutdown, only about 3,000 out of more than 16,000 labor department employees are currently allowed to work. Also, in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Labor Department, only three of its approximately 2,500 employees shall continue working. This means that routine inspections will stop as the Department of Labor utilizes a skeleton staff for the purpose of dealing with only the most pressing and dangerous of workplace safety issues.

From a workplace safety perspective, the government shutdown is definitely not helping to prevent workplace injuries. Indeed, this is an area of government that needs more attention and there needs to be more inspections into the safety of workplaces. In this sense, any scale back or delays in workplace safety inspections could translate into more workers being injured or killed as a result of unsafe work conditions.

Any Colorado worker who is hurt while performing his or her job duties is entitled to benefit of workers' compensation. By filing a workers' compensation claim in relation to a workplace injury, hurt employees can obtain financial compensation to help them pay for their medical care. They may also be eligible to receive compensation to replace lost income that has resulted from an inability to perform their job duties.

Source: ohsonline.com, Government Shutdown to Halt Workplace Safety Investigations -- Occupational Health & Safety, No author, Oct. 2, 2013

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