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Workplace injury: 4 deaths in 2 weeks cause great concern

Workplace fatalities caused by falls, struck-by hazards and engulfments are often cited as some of the most common dangers on work sites nationwide, including here in Colorado. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently urged employers in a neighboring state to review safety protocols as they move into the busier time of the year when higher numbers of workers will be exposed to workplace injury hazards. This follows the deaths of four workers in 13 days in March -- three of them occurred within six days.

The first fatality occurred on March 9 when a 62-year-old construction worker fell 38 feet to his death from a platform he had been installing. On March 16, a 42-year-old worker at a grain handling facility died after an unprotected working auger caused his fatal injuries. On March 20, a 42-year-old flagger lost his life in a road construction accident when he was struck by a car. One day later, a trench collapse claimed the life of a 61-year-old plumber.

These four deaths were appear to have been caused by four of the most cited safety violations. Falls are said to be the primary cause of fatalities in the construction industry. The grain industry cites engulfment, auger entanglement and the dangers of combustible dust as major hazards, and struck-by deaths are all too common in road construction zones.

Construction workers in Colorado and other states are often exposed to the multiple hazards of excavations and trenches that are not properly secured. Unfortunately, despite the fact that these workplace injury hazards are known to cause serious injuries and even death, many employers continue to disregard workers' safety. Although no amount of money can ever replace a lost loved one, workers' compensation benefits may ease the financial burden caused by an unexpected death. The surviving family members of workers whose deaths were caused by fatal on-the-job injuries may pursue death benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system, typically covering end-of-life expenses and a portion of lost income.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "OSHA Urges Greater Vigilance Toward Safety after 4 Nebraska Workers Die of Job-Related Injuries in March", March 25, 2016

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