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Proactive safety program could reduce construction fatalities

The number of construction workers killed in job-related accidents in New Jersey and around the country increased by a worrying 26 percent between 2011 and 2015 according to figures from the Center for Construction Research and Training. However, the latest Safety Performance Report from the Associated Builders and Contractors suggests that construction site safety could be increased by as much as 670 percent and reportable safety incidents could be reduced by up to 85 percent if the group's Safety Performance Evaluation Process were adopted industry-wide.

The STEP program takes a proactive approach to workplace safety. Companies that follow the program pay particular attention to their orientation and training policies and provide assistance to workers who have developed substance abuse problems. According to ABC, the STEP program is effective because it tackles safety issues on a daily basis and encourages workers to speak up and take part.

The program is made up of 20 components that can be used by contractors to assess the effectiveness of their safety protocols and training practices. Construction companies can also learn about recent innovations and measure their safety records against industry benchmarks. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is addressing the alarming rise in construction site deaths by modernizing its injury and accident reporting procedures, but some of these changes have been opposed on privacy grounds.

Construction workers who suffer a workplace accident may able to obtain financial assistance by filing a workers compensation claim, but the application process and the paperwork involved can sometimes seem bewildering. Attorneys familiar with the program may help injured or sick workers avoid delays and possible denials by ensuring that their applications are completed properly, submitted in a timely manner and supported by relevant medical evidence. Attorneys may also be able to advocate on behalf of injured workers if their claims are challenged by their employers.

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