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Injury Prevention Programs May Help Decrease Work-Related Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures that employers are providing a safe environment for their workers by following federal safety standards. In addition, OSHA works to provide employers with ways to train and educate their workers on safety procedures in order to minimize the chances of a work-related injury.

Recently, OSHA cited two contractors after a scaffold platform bridge collapsed from 40 feet above the ground. Six workers were hurt in the accident. As a result, OSHA investigated and found that the scaffolding had been constructed incorrectly, even missing safety chains that should have been in place.

When an incident like this occurs, citations from OSHA can cost companies thousands of dollars in fines. Some fines are given because an employer knew or should have known that the accident might happen and failed to establish any safety measures to prevent the occurrence.

Different employers face different types of possible work-related injuries. Factories with lots of heavy moving equipment must be extra careful to prevent crush injuries. Chemical plants have to make sure that their employees are protected from exposure to toxic chemicals. Every workplace is potentially liable for injuries that happen to their employees while they are working.

When a work-related accident occurs, the company can face serious consequences if they were found to be negligent in safety and prevention measures. Not only will OSHA conduct an inspection of the building (or wherever the accident occurred) and propose citations, but the employer may be required to pay workers' compensation to the injured employee.

Following the recent scaffolding incident, OSHA continues to urge employers to establish injury prevention programs so that any known dangers can be protected against.

Source: OSHA.gov, "US Labor Department's OSHA cites New York and Pennsylvania contractors following scaffold collapse at Binghamton University that injured 6 workers," 2 November 2010

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