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Better workplace safety may avoid workers struck by vehicles

Workplace accidents are likely on the mind of most Missouri workers who spend their day on construction sites. Owners of companies are responsible for maintaining workplace safety according to the strict regulations as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is emphasizing the importance of preventing workers being struck by vehicles in a campaign that will run through Sept. 2015.

The Kansas City office of OSHA reported that the workplace fatalities investigated over the past five years involved a high number of incidents where workers were struck by vehicles. These included trucks, cars and semi trucks, along with yard trucks, forklifts and cranes. Most of these deaths could have been avoided had safety rules been followed. Company owners should firstly ensure that every worker who drives a vehicle is properly trained to operate a particular vehicle, and that vehicles are inspected for defects prior to each shift.

Inclined areas and ramps have proved to be especially dangerous, and workers should always check that the parking brakes are set when vehicles are parked. Wedging the wheels of heavy vehicles parked on inclines may provide extra security. When heavy equipment is not in use, all controls must be neutralized to avoid unexpected incidents involving end-loader buckets, bulldozer blades and other equipment extensions. Many fatalities occur when large vehicles are reversed while the driver's rear view is obstructed, or when the reverse alarm is defective and fails to warn workers on the ground. Ground-workers should always wear reflective gear to avoid not being seen by operators of large mechanical equipment.

While these are just some of the situations that may have caused Missouri workers to suffer on-the-job injuries, each company owner should assess the hazards present on his or her work site. Missouri workers who have suffered workplace injuries, and families who have lost loved ones as the result of sub-standard workplace safety may benefit from retaining the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Such a professional will guide eligible workers through the claiming process and protect their rights. More information is available on our workers' compensation website.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Take care -- and action -- to avoid vehicle struck-by accidents", Nov. 6, 2014

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