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Disregarding safety regulations may be cause worker injuries

Missouri workers in industries such as construction, roofing and tree trimming are invariably exposed to electrical hazards. Employers must comply with the safety regulations that are prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Regular training must be provided to ensure workers remain vigilant when working with electricity. Many outdoor jobs take place in springtime, and the Cuivre River Electric Cooperative says company owners must assert safety procedures before tasks commence in order to avoid worker injuries.

Any work area must be evaluated for hazards prior to starting projects. The presence of power lines must be noted if projects involve activities such as roof repairs, tree trimming, installing solar panels or multi-story construction. Ladders must always be carried horizontally and not set upright before checking for power lines above. When equipment or machinery such as cranes or forklifts are moved about, their extensions must always be set at the lowest position.

Under Missouri laws, work may not be done closer than 10 feet to a power line, and the utility company must be advised if projects are planned within that area. With permission of OSHA and notice to the utility company, that area may be expanded if cranes and other construction equipment are to be used. Similarly, before any digging operations take place, a request for a utility line locator must be submitted. A locator will then identify and mark any underground utilities that may be present at the work site.

Many Missouri workers have suffered electrical shocks because safety regulations were disregarded. Electricity is invisible, and all power lines must be regarded as live. Company owners must stress the dangers of electricity to less experienced and younger workers. In the unfortunate event of worker injuries, those affected may pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages by filing claims for workers' compensation benefits.

Source: boonecountryconnection.com, "Be safe with electricity this spring", April 24, 2015

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