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Construction worker accidents soar in Tennessee

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is concerned about the number of fatalities reported in the state's construction industry. A spokesperson for TOSHA says the two-year period from 2016 through 2017 was the deadliest yet. In the metropolitan area of Nashville, 16 employees lost their lives in construction worker accidents during that period -- more than in any other rapidly growing areas in other states. This is based on the latest information made available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Two such fatalities have been reported in the Nashville area so far this year. Although construction company owners, contractors and subcontractors are required by state and federal laws to provide safe workplace environments, TOSHA says that noncompliance continues to be a significant problem. The agency says the declining number of safety inspections due to fewer inspectors has led to employers disregarding employee safety in favor of profits. This has resulted in devastating construction site accidents.

Authorities say workers risk their lives in a number of areas, but those working on roofs seem to be most vulnerable. This is because contractors do not want to spend money on personal protective equipment such as harnesses and lanyards, safety nets or guardrails. Statistics indicate that about one in three cited safety violations in the construction industry between 2016 and 2017 involved lack of fall protection and lack of training.

Such a situation leaves employees in this industry in Tennessee extremely vulnerable. Those who have suffered injuries in construction worker accidents may be entitled to financial relief through the workers' compensation insurance program of the state. The claims process can be challenging, and for that reason, some injured workers seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: tennessean.com, "Amid Nashville's housing boom, safety rules are ignored and more workers die", Mike Reicher, May 5, 2018

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