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Will new rule lead to fewer construction worker injuries?

The Labor Department’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration thinks so. The rule, which will take effect this summer on Aug. 3, will specifically pertain to construction workers who must complete tasks in confined spaces. These spaces include tanks and manholes.

The issue with these types of locations is that when an injury occurs it can be difficult for them to get out of the confined area. Individuals who work in these conditions face multiple risks including:

  • Explosions
  • Asphyxiation
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to toxic substances

The rule will do several things to provide construction workers in confined spaces protections similar to those who work in industries such as manufacturing. In addition to safety training the work sites will need to be assessed frequently. Hazards at the site will need to be monitored continuously and employers will have to share safety information with workers.

According to OSHA it is expected that the new federal rule will prevent approximately 800 serious injuries—or worse, death—each year. Whether this will happen remains to be seen.

It is important that construction workers are aware that if they are hurt while working they could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. To obtain these benefits a claim must be filed with the employer’s insurance company. While there are times that the benefits are granted without any issues, other times it may be necessary to work with a lawyer who handles workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the injury inducing accident as well.

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