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Report examines workplace safety at military contract sites

Military construction contractors in Pennsylvania may be particularly concerned about job safety. Of course, many construction workers are already well aware of the potential for serious workplace accidents and injuries, especially when using heavy equipment or working at heights. Various forms of tightened regulations as well as private initiatives aim to make many construction sites safer places for workers, avoiding severe and often disabling injuries. For example, New York City implemented rules for mandatory safety training before workers could start on building jobs throughout the city.

However, little specific attention has been paid over the years to the safety situation of construction workers doing contracted work for the Department of Defense. The U.S. Government Accountability Office conducted research to assess previous violations by contracting companies that work with the DOD and examine how safety records are dealt with by the department. The report examined 192 construction companies' safety records between 2013 and 2017. All of the companies involved had DOD contracts during the specified period. The study noted that 52 companies had 195 serious violations, including seven workplace fatalities, 20 workers hospitalized and four more severe injuries.

The study noted that 83 of the companies had at least one workplace safety violation, but it was not clear whether any of these incidents took place on contracted jobs for the DOD. Researchers made recommendations to increase accountability and tracking of safety violations, including urging OSHA to collect identification numbers during investigations in order to link incidents to specific contracts.

Workplace injuries in construction can be severe, especially if OSHA violations of safety rules are involved. Construction workers who have been hurt on the job can consult with a workers' compensation lawyer about their options to pursue the benefits they need.

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