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Workplace injuries: OSHA says all fatal falls were preventable

Construction workers in Oklahoma and elsewhere earn their livings in some of the most hazardous work environments in the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls remain the cause of a significant portion of workplace injuries in this industry. They report that most of the fall victims wore inadequate or no fall protection

OSHA says all fatal falls were determined to have been preventable, and employers are advised to reduce fall accidents by establishing safety protocols and training workers in proper safety techniques. Safety starts at the beginning stages of any project when safety plans for the particular project must be incorporated. The necessary safety equipment such as personal protective equipment, scaffolds, ladders, guard rails and more must be specified in the plans.

The next step is providing the necessary equipment as specified on the plans. Employers must also ensure scaffolds, ladders and all other equipment comply with prescribed safety standards, and fall harnesses for those who work at heights must fit the worker who will wear it. The last, but crucial, safety protocol is training. All employees must receive adequate training in construction safety and emergency procedures as well as the safe operation of equipment and the ability to inspect equipment to identify defects.

Unfortunately, some construction company owners in Oklahoma focus more on profits than employee safety. Falls can cause catastrophic workplace injuries that might even lead to permanent disability or death. The workers' compensation insurance system of the state provides financial assistance to injured construction workers by paying their medical expenses and providing wage replacement. Those who suffer permanent disabilities might qualify for additional benefits, and families who have lost loved ones in construction accidents can claim death benefits. The support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney can simplify the complicated claims process.

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