a Injured workers: Complacency can have devastating consequences
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Injured workers: Complacency can have devastating consequences

Many longtime roof workers become complacent if they have been fortunate enough not to be involved in fall accidents. Scores of injured workers are reported in Colorado every year, many of whom suffered preventable falls. However, for falls to be preventable, workers must take steps to prevent them. The problem becomes exacerbated if these "lucky" workers are put in charge of showing newer, younger workers the ropes. Potentially deadly habits are passed on from one generation to the next, with the false sense of security it creates.

The correct way is to take precautions against known hazards but also be alert and prepared for the unexpected throughout every project. In other words, workers must not be complacent because the necessary guardrails are placed on the edges of the roof, and flags are in place to warn them when they get too near the edge. Other unexpected hazards can cause falls that can end in permanent disability or death.

These include skylights and roof hatches. Glass, perspex and even cages over these openings will not stop a person who accidentally falls onto one of them. Some coverings may even be too flimsy to carry the weight of a worker stepping onto it, or sitting on the protective cage. Taking a few minutes to clearly mark and protect these dangers before proceeding with any roofing project might save lives.

Another aspect that might be ignored due to complacency is the examination of fall protection equipment at the start of every shift. Even though a fall arrest system is strapped on day after day, it does not do the job for which it is designed every day. In fact, it may not have to arrest a fall for months, and what if its functionality has deteriorated over time? Injured workers in Colorado who have failed to keep themselves safe may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, and legal counsel can assist with the claims process.

Source: simplifiedsafety.com, "Do You Make These Three Fall Protection Mistakes?", May 5, 2018

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