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Preventing work injuries requires a multi-level approach

When workers in New York are hurt on the job, they may spend weeks or months recovering. Many never overcome the pain of their injuries, but they may agree that they are luckier than others whose injuries were too severe to survive. Most work injuries are preventable, but the prevention must begin long before a worker straps on his or her protective equipment.

Safety advocates recommend a multi-level approach to accident prevention, beginning with recognizing those areas of a job site that are potentially dangerous. Since the majority of workplace injuries involve falls or falling objects, managers can work to identify tasks that are unnecessarily performed from heights. Additionally, overexertion causes illness and injury on the job. This is easily preventable by monitoring the workload and the factors that may quickly fatigue a worker, such as heat.

After identifying the risks, managers or employers should work to eliminate them. This may be done by substituting dangerous equipment for tools that are more reliable. Job sites in New York should also include risk-controlling devices like guardrails and elevated platforms. Nothing, however, can replace effective, frequent training. Warning workers of risks and teaching them options for dealing with hazards may save many lives.

Personal safety devices, such as harnesses and helmets, are last-resort measures to prevent work injuries. Still, with all these factors in place, one careless moment on the job can bring disaster. When this happens, the support and guidance of a workers' compensation lawyer will ensure that the injured worker receives the maximum benefits allowed to help with medical expenses and lost wages until the employee is well enough to return to work.

Source: shrm.org, "A Layered Approach to Mitigating Workplace Safety Risks", Lisa Nagele-Piazza, Dec. 13, 2016

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