Colorado's agriculture industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy of the state. However, consumers of Colorado cantaloupes, peaches, sweet corn and red meat may not realize the toll it takes to provide these products to the market. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance system covers most farm workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.
Construction workers in Colorado have challenging jobs that expose them to a variety of hazards. Some of the most common no-fault work injuries in this industry result from slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents. These workers have to cope with the many elevations typically found on construction sites, including going up and down scaffolding, scaling ladders and navigating through debris and clutter. Slippery walkways are par for the course and not only during icy conditions.
Employees in the agriculture industry face multiple risks every day. Farm owners and managers in Colorado have an endless list of hazards to address if they want to avoid having to deal with the consequences of injured workers. The heat of summer and the cold of winter pose severe risks, and many farm accidents involve falls from ladders and elevated work areas. Agricultural operations in both crop farming and animal production often cause musculoskeletal injuries because workers frequently work in awkward body postures and make repetitive motions.
Restaurant workers in Colorado face many safety hazards, some of which are not as obvious as sharp objects, hot fluids and slip-and-fall accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the various chemicals used in restaurants pose significant hazards. Employees who want to stay safe and avoid injuries that could result in lost wages might have a better chance if they learn about hazardous chemicals.
Every industry in Colorado has its unique hazards, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes regulations and guidelines that employers must enforce to ensure workplace safety. However, workers' compensation claims for benefits follow many injuries caused by safety violations. Occupational injuries do not all result from accidents; some can be caused by a disease. One type of workplace in which workers may not even be aware of their exposure to health hazards is indoor firing ranges in which exceptionally high risks of lead poisoning exist.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says 6.5 million workers are employed in the U.S. construction industry. Regardless of the size of the company, all construction workers are exposed to the same hazards. Along with medical expenses brought about by workplace injuries, victims also have to deal with lost wages. However, Colorado workers could improve their chances of staying safe by taking a few precautions rather than relying entirely on their employers to protect them.
Summertime is ideal to get construction projects done in Colorado. However, it is the most dangerous time for construction workers whose employers fail to train them on the dangers of dehydration, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is also crucial for employees to recognize that heat exposure can cause death, and they need to know how to determine when a coworker needs medical treatment.
Every summer, many Colorado teens get their first tastes of what it is like to have a job. Teen workers typically want to impress their employers, and they would execute any order to the best of their ability. First-time employees who do not have comprehensive knowledge of their workers' rights yet might compromise their own safety, and authorities report that the injury rate of workers under the age of 24 is almost double that of older workers.
Questions are often asked about the responsibility of primary employers such as staffing agencies and host employers for the safety of temporary workers in Colorado. Employees and even employers may be unsure about this, but the answer is that these workers' rights to protection are the same as the rights of full-time workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is the joint responsibility of primary and host employers.
Forklifts often bring out the boys in men. However, regardless of the temptation to have some fun, these machines must be seen for what they are -- dangerous. Workers who are injured at work are typically entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, if injuries occurred during horseplay on a forklift, claims might be denied. Colorado employers are responsible for the safety of employees, and one way to avoid forklift injuries is to enforce safety regulations.