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OSHA says fatal fall injuries are preventable

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in the years 2003 through 2013, over 3,500 construction workers died in work-related accidents nationwide, including in Missouri. The agency further reported that just under 34 percent of the fatal workplace injuries involved falls from heights -- every one of which could have been prevented. OSHA requires that construction companies follow a three-step strategy to protect construction workers' health and safety.

Based on the strategy, employers must plan, provide and train. Business owners must include safety throughout the project planning. Planners must anticipate and address hazards from the onset, and the expenses related to personal protective equipment (PPE) can be included in the cost of the project. The second step is to make sure that every employee is provided with the appropriate PPE -- in good working order -- for his or her particular job allocation.

The third part of the plan is training. Lives will not be saved merely by providing fall protection without also providing proper training in the correct way to use PPE. Supervisors must enforce the use of protective gear at all times, and check that proper procedures are followed when fall protection lanyards are anchored. Furthermore, employees must be trained to look out for each other, and learn the importance of compliance with safety regulations.

Missouri families who have lost loved ones due to fatal injuries suffered on the job are entitled to seek financial relief. The workers' compensation insurance program offers death benefits to surviving family members of deceased victims of workplace accidents. End-of-life expenses and wage-replacement benefits may help to ease the unanticipated financial burdens brought about by such tragedies.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "Falls in construction: A deadly hazard", Accessed on June 2, 2017

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