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Handling Injuries in Remote Locations

For the most part, road work and construction crews work in fairly accessible locations — after all, they’re working on the roads and highways we all use for travel. But when a crew is working late or in a more remote location, they might be susceptible to more danger from other cars, as well as on-the-job injuries due to machinery and equipment malfunction or other disasters.

If a crew member is injured, access to emergency medical services may be limited in these cases and EMTs and ambulances could take a long time to reach the area. When this happens, the injured crew member has to rely on the rest of the team to provide first aid and emergency care services as much as possible until help arrives.

Employer Preparation is Key

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently concluded an investigation into one accident that could have had a much better outcome if crew members were properly trained in first aid and emergency medicine and provided with better options for contacting medical assistance. This investigation will hopefully serve as a starting point for employers to seek better training options and contingency plans and legislators to create laws and requirements to enforce these standards.

In 2013, a Colorado man was working on a construction crew to repair the damage left on a road due to flooding. While he was on the job, one of the trucks at the location backed over him. He suffered serious injuries but the crew was unable to call 911 for help from the site because they had no cell phone service. The man ultimately died as a result of his injuries and OSHA launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident.

In the course of the investigation, OSHA determined that the company that hired the construction crew had failed to properly train its team members on providing first aid. Additionally, the company had not come up with a contingency plan for emergency situations in which the crew could not use their cell phones, even though the road work took place in a remote location with poor service.

Had they been able to administer even basic first aid or call emergency services as soon as the accident occurred, the man may have survived. OSHA recommended that the company be fined $3,800 for “other than serious” violations.

This accident was a tragedy for the man, his family and all the involved crew members who witnessed the traumatizing event, but there is hope that the incident will prompt widespread change.

With improved standards for employee safety in remote or dangerous locations, many lives can be saved and many accidents can be prevented or minimized. Basic safety training and emergency communication plans would make a world of difference.

At Levine Law, our Denver workers compensation attorneys represent employees who have been injured on the job and families who have lost loved ones due to workplace accidents and fatalities. To discuss your case and the options available to you, get in touch with our firm for a consultation today.

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