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Disregard of workers' rights to safety leads to burn injuries

Electricity poses multiple known workplace hazards to workers in Colorado and across the nation. For this reason, it raises concern when employers disregard workers' rights to safety and prescribed safety regulations according to which only qualified electricians may carry out certain procedures. Allowing untrained workers to perform electrical tasks that can cause life-threatening injuries was recently declared unacceptable by a spokesperson of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This comment followed the completion of an investigation into a workplace accident that left a worker with serious burn injuries on his arms, hands and face. During the investigation, investigators found that a trainee blasting machine operator at a steel products manufacturer in another state had to change a fuse. An arc blast occurred that caused second- and third-degree burns.

It was also determined that no lockout protocol was in place, and the fuse was changed on an energized electric line. Also, the untrained worker was not provided with adequate protective equipment to prevent injuries. The burn injuries suffered by this man will likely leave permanent scars that may affect his personal and work life forever. Medical treatment may include future skin grafts and long periods of incapacitation.

Workers' rights include the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits. Financial relief may be claimed through the Colorado workers' compensation insurance system. Typical compensation includes medical expenses and lost wages which are usually based on the injured worker's wage level. In cases in which long-term treatment is required, or when injuries cause temporary or permanent disability, additional compensation might be considered.

Source:, "PA Trainee Sustains 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns From Arc Blast", Dec. 22, 2015

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