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OSHA's sad litany: year after year, same dangers confront workers

Falling from a scaffold or ladder is a constant danger for any employee who routinely works at height. We all know that, of course: It is patently obvious, and something that needs to be rigorously safeguarded against.

Then why isn't it?

Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and their regulatory counterparts in New York would certainly like to know the answer to that troubling question, for this very straightforward reason: Every year, the same short list of workplace hazards dominates a list of dangers that menace American workplaces.

That is, workers in New York and across the country recurrently fall to their deaths for the same negligence-based reasons, and notwithstanding the fact that simple adherence to common safety norms would prevent such an outcome. Employees in myriad industries are hurt and maimed by defective machinery, chemical spills, respiratory ailments caused by airborne contaminants, electrical wiring glitches, crush injuries, excavation collapses and countless other hazards.

Here's what galls and fundamentally troubles safety gurus, regulatory officials and attorneys who fight aggressively for the rights of injured workers: In almost every case, injuries like those cited above almost never occur absent substandard workplace policies and behavior.

That means employer negligence grounded in indifference, a desire to save a few bucks, an apathetic business culture or a combination of many factors.

OSHA reminds us of this every year via a top-10 list of workplace hazards that, as noted, depressingly denote the same few bulletpoints of concern.

When employers don't act responsibly, workers can -- and often do -- suffer serious and deadly injuries.

A law firm that devotes all its time, energies and proven acumen to the protection of injured and disabled workers and other individuals can provide strong advocacy in any instance where employer negligence or wanton disregard for safety has compromised a person's health or well-being.

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