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What are employers supposed to do to prevent injured workers?

Every Colorado employee deserves a workplace free from dangerous conditions. It is the employer's responsibility to provide such a workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency, sets out rules and regulations designed to prevent injured workers in every industry.

Employers across the nation -- and here in Colorado -- in every industry are required to meet certain safety standards set forth by OSHA. Companies create policies and procedures regarding safety practices unique to their industries. Workers are then to be trained regarding the proper procedures and provided safety equipment needed to increase the likelihood of not being injured. All equipment and tools used by workers are to be periodically inspected and properly maintained.

For instance, a company that works with hazardous chemicals is required to train employees on how to safely handle and be around them. The facility where the business is conducted must provide proper ventilation. Workers are to be provided the appropriate safety equipment such as respirators, in order to prevent inhalation that could cause serious injury or death. This is just one small example of the steps employers are to take in order to safeguard their employees. Unfortunately, even when a company is diligent and takes the safety of its workers seriously, accidents can occur.

Injured workers are then able to apply for workers' compensation benefits designed to help with the financial impact of an injury. Medical expenses and other expenses related to recovery are available. If an individual is looking at a lengthy recovery, he or she may be able to obtain benefits to make up for the loss of income. If an injury causes permanent damage, additional benefits, including a compensation package for lost income, may be obtainable. Benefits may also be available for families that lose loved ones in work-related accidents.

Source: osha.gov, "Employer Responsibilities", Accessed on Jan. 24, 2015

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