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Looking for safety: up on the roof

Decades ago, the Drifters crooned about the show the stars put on at night for free. The best place to see the show was up on the roof, the doo-wop legends sang. While their soft, romantic tones undoubtedly bring back memories for certain folks, there's also the reality that people who go "up on the roof" must face every working day: it's a dangerous place to earn a living

The director of California's Department of Industrial Relations said recently that "roofing operations are inherently risky" and that employers must provide training and equipment to protect workers from "injuries on the job."

Cal/OSHA notes that "workplace incidence of serious injuries and fatalities is higher" among roofers than workers in other industries, according to a report. Obviously, falls are a leading reason roofers face devastating injuries that can include head and brain trauma, spinal cord damage, broken limbs, cuts, back injuries, paralysis and other significant damage.

Thankfully, in many of these injury incidents, both the employer and insurer agree that the on-the-job injury is covered by workers' compensation insurance. The worker then receives his or her wage replacement, as well as needed medical care, including such things as hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.

In other cases, however, an insurer will reject the workers' comp claim, forcing the injured worker to appeal for those needed and deserved benefits. That's the point at which workers' compensation attorneys enter the picture, helping those injured to fight for the benefits they have earned, paid for and deserve.

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