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NY construction Workers' injuries: how can they be reduced?

New York job sites are hustling, bustling places with people and vehicles moving every which way. In the midst of all that movement, construction accidents sometimes happen. In the best cases, the injuries are minor. But, in many instances, construction workers die.

Consider figures from the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics. According to its numbers, a vehicle hitting a worker was the cause of about half of all fatal workplace injuries from 2003 to 2010. That is a startling figure.

To combat the dangers of vehicles on job sites, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a set of recommendations involving training, communication, procedures and equipment operation. Key on that list, is that NIOSH recommends that workers should work around construction vehicles as little as possible.

But, that is not always possible. In those cases, NIOSH recommends that New Yorkers prefer vehicles with small blind spots and proximity warnings. NIOSH also recommends that drivers should only back up when they have the benefit of a spotter.

In addition to safer vehicles and better equipment, NIOSH also emphasizes communication. At the beginning of the work day, workers should receive two-way radios and review their hand signals. In that same vein, workers should be banned from using cell phones on site.

Last, companies should create and carry out a worker-safety program. At a minimum, the program should require daily safety meetings to go over common hazards, proper procedures and the type of work each employee will perform.

Each of these steps is a move in the right direction. But, some workers will still get hurt anyway. These workers may benefit from discussing their options with an experienced construction-injury attorney.

Source: CDC.gov, "Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Backing Construction Vehicles and Equipment at Roadway Construction Worksite," accessed on July 13, 2015

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