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Preventing accidents from hazardous energy sources

Many New Yorkers work in companies in which they work near machines and other equipment that use hazardous sources of energy. If the equipment starts up unexpectedly and releases its hazardous energy source, then nearby workers may be severely injured or killed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates and monitors employer compliance with safety regulations promulgated by the Department of Labor. There are regulations that require that employers have specific and detailed lockout and tagout procedures in place to shut down machinery so it doesn't unexpectedly turn on during routine maintenance.

The Department of Labor states that as much as 10 percent of serious workplace injuries in some industries result from employers not following the mandates or having the procedures in place. It is recommended that employers both implement the procedures and train their employees in them. Workers should be forbidden to turn machinery back on while it is tagged out as well. When control methods are updated or changed, all employees should then go through training again in the implementation of the new controls.

Safety regulations are in place to minimize the risk of workplace injuries. When they are not followed, the risk to workers is greatly increased. Most employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage to provide an additional layer of protection to workers who are injured on the job. Benefits that are provided can include reimbursement of medical expenses as well as the provision of future medical care and treatment and, in some cases, a percentage of wages lost during the recovery period. An attorney can be of assistance to a worker in the preparation and timely filing of the required claim.

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