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Three ways to prioritize worker safety at heights

Connecticut worksites in high places can put workers as well as the people below at risk. Dropped objects are the third most frequent cause of worker injuries in the construction industry, according to OSHA. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 45,940 injuries in 2017 that involved a falling object. This accounted for 5.2% of all on-the-job injuries that year.

The BLS states that fatal falls reached a 26-year high in 2017 (1992 being the year when the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries was introduced), leading to 887 deaths. That came to 17% of all worker fatalities that year.

Safety advocates have encouraged employers to adopt the American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions as a best practice. This could help in the effort to reduce the number of fall-related incidents. The standard could also help employers comply with OSHA's rules and regulations.

There are two other ways that employers can prioritize safety at heights. One is the development of a work culture that stresses safety, not productivity. Employees should be allowed to voice safety concerns in a no-fault environment. The second way is to simply recognize that falls and falling objects affect not only workers but also bystanders, pedestrians and drivers.

Should accidents occur, employers may not necessarily be to blame. In such cases, injured employees may see if they can receive workers' compensation. These benefits are paid out in installments and cover medical costs and, at least up to a certain percentage, lost wages. An attorney could help an injured worker obtain the benefits they deserve.

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