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Construction injuries: Lightning strike sends 3 to hospital

Severe weather, accompanied by lightning, can pose a great danger to Colorado workers who remain exposed rather than ordered by employers to take cover. When dangerous construction projects are undertaken, employers must devise contingency plans for all eventualities, including rules on what to do when exposed to lightning. To avoid construction injuries due to lightning strikes, workers must move clear from scaffolding, rooftops, trees, ladders and equipment that could conduct electricity. They must take cover and avoid being out in the open.

Three workers recently landed in a hospital after lightning struck in the vicinity of the construction site at which they were working. Fortunately, none of the workers was directly struck by the lightning bolt. It was believed to have been a case of an electrical surge that went through the equipment they were operating at the time.

While two workers received medical treatment at the construction site, three others were rushed to a hospital. After evaluation and treatment, two workers were released from the hospital. The third worker reportedly suffered limb injuries that appeared to be more serious, but he is expected to recover fully. OSHA said the accident will not be investigated.

A Colorado worker who suffers construction injuries may pursue a claim for workers' compensation for medical expenses and related damages -- even if the injuries were caused by an act of nature. The workers' compensation insurance fund typically compensates an injured worker for medical expenses as well as for time lost working while focused on recovery. The calculation of this coverage is based on the worker's income level prior to the accident.

Source: gazette.com, "UPDATE: One remains in hospital after lightning strike injures 5 in Colorado Springs", Ellie Mulder, June 25, 2015

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