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Proper training and PPE may prevent fatal construction injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had a nationwide safety stand-down recently to underscore the importance of educating employers and their workers about the dangers of working at heights and the falls that can result. Construction injuries caused by falls are reportedly the leading cause of fatalities in this industry. The rebounding economy brings more construction projects and, sadly, more deaths in Colorado and other states.

An OSHA spokesperson said it is vital to provide workers with the right personal protective equipment, the right tools and the right training. He said many deadly falls resulted from failures in one or more of these three areas. He says it is not uncommon to investigate a fatal fall accident and find that the worker was wearing a harness but that the lanyard was not secured to an anchor point.

It serves no purpose to provide fall protection without teaching workers how to use it to protect their own lives. Workers must also be trained in hazard recognition and be told which actions to take in the events of emergencies. It was also noted that fatalities may be avoided if well-trained workers use their skills to identify dangerous situations and look out for the safety of the other workers around them.

Colorado workers who have suffered construction injuries may find comfort in knowing that they may pursue workers' compensation benefits. Similarly, those families who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents will be entitled to file death benefits claims with the state's workers' compensation program. Medical and/or end-of-life expenses will be covered, along with an award to make up for lost wages that typically represents a percentage of an injured or deceased worker's average weekly wage.

Source: wdtn.com, "Working to end deadly falls among Ohio construction workers", Katie Ussin, May 5, 2016

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