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Workplace fatalities prompt action to improve safety in Georgia

Following the May death of a worker at a construction site in Georgia, business leaders are concerned about worker safety in the construction industry. A task force was formed in Columbia County to address the issue. It was reported that the issue identified as the first to receive attention involves the legitimacy of subcontractors that are used by developers in the county. Thousands of new cyberdefense workers have resulted in a housing boom in Columbia, and immediate action is required to avoid workplace fatalities.

The need for action arose from the death of a 20-year-old worker who lived in North Augusta but was an undocumented immigrant. Along with three of his brothers, the man was employed by a subcontractor. He was reportedly rushed to a hospital after falling two stories while working on the construction of a house but passed away the following day.

It has been determined that construction companies often use unlicensed subcontractors. This may be because it is not uncommon for some subcontractors to obtain work by quoting prices that are significantly lower than the prices quoted by licensed subcontractors. Under current standards, each contractor is required to obtain a two-year license and have liability insurance. Furthermore, to ensure contractors understand the basics of business and law and are technically competent, they have to pass an examination. However, only the status of the contractor applying for the permit is checked, leaving open the possibility for unlicensed subcontractors to work on projects.

While Georgia business leaders endeavor to provide safer work environments for workers, workplace fatalities will likely continue to occur. Fortunately, employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance in case one of their employees is injured or killed while on the job. Injured victims or the families of those who suffered workplace fatalities can seek assistance from experienced legal professionals if they find difficulty in obtaining workers' compensation benefits.

Source: newstimes.augusta.com, "Columbia County to review construction contractors after fatal fall", Wesley Brown, June 17, 2015

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