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Safety practices better at union companies, survey says

Construction workers in Ohio may be concerned about safety risks on the job, especially since construction accidents may cause particularly serious injuries and life-changing disabilities. In many cases, people injured in accidents at a construction job may have difficulty returning to work for a long period of time. According to one study, those construction companies that employ at least some union workers are more likely to abide by best practices for safety and go through training on federal OSHA standards.

The survey, conducted by the Center for Construction Research and Training, found that firms that hire union workers were more likely to be larger and take on bigger projects. These projects include industrial buildings and high-rise projects. Of the 334 firms that participated in the survey, 90 employed union workers only and an additional 109 had both union and nonunion workers. Another 40.4 percent of the respondents hired only nonunion workers. When tabulating the results, the first two categories were classified as union firms and the others as nonunion firms. The survey found that while 78.9 percent of union firms analyze safety risks before a job, only 55.6 percent of nonunion firms do the same.

In addition, 66.8 percent of companies with union workers conduct thorough investigations of accidents, while 49.6 percent of nonunion companies do the same. Even more, 86.9 percent of the union companies have site-specific plans for workplace safety, while 68.9 percent of the nonunion companies do. Companies that hire union workers were also almost 20 percent more likely to undergo OSHA training.

Unfortunately, construction accidents happen all too frequently on the job. Injured workers have rights under the law, and they may need to take action to protect themselves and seek the workers' compensation benefits they deserve. A lawyer might help injured workers to defend their rights and seek compensation.

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