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OSHA focusing on struck-by deaths in construction industry

Construction workers in Georgia and across the nation face significant workplace hazards. Over 800 construction workers died between 2011 and 2015 when objects or vehicles struck them on the job, according to data collected by the Center for Construction Research and Training. Nonfatal struck-by accidents occur at nearly twice the rate within the construction industry compared to other occupations. To increase awareness of the problem, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration added information about these hazards to its Focus Four campaign.

This initiative strives to educate employers about the risks of struck-by accidents and provide resources to improve safety training. The outreach campaign also addresses other common forms of construction accidents, such as electrocution and falls.

Struck-by accidents represent a significant source of danger for highway maintenance workers, who are classified as construction workers. Out of the struck-by fatalities reported between 2011 and 2015, 48 percent involved a vehicle hitting a worker. Over half of the vehicle strikes happened within work zones. Older workers 65 and over die in these forms of accidents more often than their younger colleagues.

The family of a person killed on the job could be entitled to a death benefit from a workers' compensation insurer. The insurance is also meant to pay medical bills for workers who survive but require medical treatment. Some companies discourage workers from filing claims or the insurer denies legitimate claims. A worker having trouble accessing benefits could talk to an attorney and learn about rights to a medical evaluation and compensation for lost pay and medical expenses. A lawyer could help the person prepare claim paperwork and manage negotiations with an insurance company.

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