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Construction workers' safety equipment can save lives

Many workers in Connecticut know just how important safety hardware can be on the job, especially in dangerous conditions or when working at great heights. This was vividly illustrated by the family of a worker who was injured in the March 2018 bridge collapse at Florida International University, where a recently installed 950-ton bridge crashed to the ground above a busy highway. One worker at the bridge heard a cracking sound and then locked his harness, according to his cousin, who attributes his cousin's life to the safety equipment.

The cousin told reporters that the worker does not remember much of the incident and only repeats certain details, like hearing the sound and deciding to lock down his protective workplace safety equipment. She said that seconds after locking the harness, he fell to the ground and could have died in the workplace accident. He still suffered damage to his nose, mouth and eye as well as fracturing his shoulder in the incident. Six people, including drivers on the road below and one construction worker, were killed in the bridge collapse.

The portion of the bridge had been constructed by the side of the road and then hoisted into position, a feat lauded by the university and construction companies involved at the time. There was a significant amount of work that remained to be done before the bridge was slated to open for pedestrians in 2019, and the cause of the collapse is still under investigation.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers at their job sites are properly protected with safety equipment in case of a workplace accident. But even when safety equipment is on the job, workers can still suffer serious injuries. Injured workers have a right to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered, and a workers' compensation attorney may be able to help them to take the next steps to protect their rights.

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