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Workers' rights: Unprotected worker injured on wind farm

Colorado has extensive wind energy facilities, and the industry has grown significantly over recent years. Workers on wind farms are typically exposed to multiple hazards, and employers must respect workers' rights to safe workplace environments. Common safety hazards that must be addressed on wind farms include struck by hazards, falls, crushing injuries and electrical shocks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has prescribed regulations that must be complied with to prevent workplace injuries.

An employee of a wind farm in a neighboring state was airlifted to a hospital after he was struck in the head by a massive steel bolt on a recent Wednesday. Reportedly, the 26-year-old worker was on a platform approximately 100 feet off ground level inside the turbine when the bolt fell from above. It was said that the worker was not wearing a safety helmet at the time of the incident.

He was knocked unconscious, and co-workers moved him to ground level. The man regained consciousness, and he was rushed to a hospital by ambulance. He was subsequently flown to another medical facility. OSHA opened an investigation into this accident and reported that two other wind turbine workers fell from a platform that was 120 feet above ground level only three days earlier. Only one of them escaped injuries because he was wearing fall protection.

Colorado employers must ensure that employees receive proper training concerning the dangers of their occupations. Workers' rights also dictate that all employees must be provided with appropriate protective equipment. Moreover, supervisors must monitor employees and ensure that personal protective equipment is worn at all times. Injured victims may pursue financial assistance by filing benefits claims with the workers' compensation insurance program for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: ksn.com, "OSHA opens investigation into second wind turbine accident", July 7, 2016

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