Severe injuries sometimes happen at government worksites. Postal workers and highway and utility construction crews are job/industry categories that are among leaders in frequency of severe injuries, according to a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) analysis. The study, “Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation,” listed those categories among the top 25 among industry groups reporting severe injuries.

“It’s a tragedy that highway construction and maintenance workers, as well as postal workers, are put into hazardous situations by the nature of their work. It’s a further tragedy that so many workplace injuries are preventable,” says Adrienne M. Hines, a worker’s compensation lawyer with Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines & Lynch Co., L.P.A. in Sandusky, Ohio. The Ohio State Bar Association has certified Hines as a workers’ compensation specialist for more than a decade.

Hines says “When it comes down to it, government employers are no different than private employers when it comes to the potential for workplace injuries.” She says that best practices for injury prevention by private employers is just as applicable to government employers that want to maintain safe working environments for employees and reduce the chance for serious injuries.

Hines offers the following best practices for a safe workplace:

—— Regular maintenance and repair of equipment and machinery. When equipment falls into disrepair, it can break or malfunction in ways that cause severe injuries. A regular maintenance and repair schedule can ensure that equipment remains in safe operating condition and that equipment that has outlived its functionality is replaced.

—— Ensuring employees have proper safety gear. For highway construction and maintenance workers, brightly colored, reflective vests can be an important tool in ensuring that oncoming motorists see the workers. Additionally, hard hats can reduce the possibility that a worker suffers a traumatic brain injury in a fall or collision.

—— Providing proper training on safety equipment and procedures. As the old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons used to announce, “It’s great to learn because knowledge is power.” Workers who have the knowledge they need about how to do their jobs safely are more empowered to avoid injuries than workers who are not adequately trained, or who are employed in workplaces that lack adequate safety procedures.

Learn more about Hines at her professional profile on her firm’s website.

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