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Construction workers’ accidents are often preventable

Friday, June 9, 2017

Employees in the New York construction industry face many safety hazards on site, many of which involve working at heights. Safety authorities say the confidence of some experienced workers who are comfortable with working at heights cause disregard of safety precautions. However, supervisors must ensure compliance with safety regulations to prevent construction workers’ accidents that often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide fall protection for any employees working at levels of six feet or higher. The protection options include fall harnesses worn by workers and harnesses attached to a secure anchor to arrest falls, guardrails and netting. The latter is a recommended measure for work sites where roof or floor openings pose dangers and when employees have to move about weak or unstable roofs.

Safety nets, used in conjunction with other precautionary measures, can prevent injuries if any of the other measures should fail. If a worker forgot to hook his or her lanyard to an anchor after moving position, or if a guardrail failed to prevent a fall, a safety net can be an additional measure to prevent injuries. Furthermore, it can protect workers at lower levels from falling tools, objects and debris.

Unfortunately, some New York employers prioritize profits over employee safety, leading to preventable construction workers’ accidents. Victims who suffered injuries in falls or other incidents on job sites can file workers’ compensation insurance benefits claims. In the event of a catastrophic injury that prevents an employee from returning to his or her usual job, the benefits may include vocational rehabilitation to teach new skills that will enable him or her to find gainful employment in a different field.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, “Netting needs in the construction industry“, May 28, 2017

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