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OSHA updating rules on falling hazards in the workplace

An OSHA ruling more than 25 years in the making has cleared the final hurdles towards implementation. Workers in Oklahoma and around the country may soon find their workplace safety protections against falling more robust than ever before.

Guard rails and other physical barriers are the primary forms of fall prevention in the workplace. OSHA reflects this in its rule, but there is now additional emphasis on personal fall prevention systems. This is meant to provide the flexibility for the employer to choose between the most appropriate systems while still providing adequate workplace protection for all employees.

One objective of the changes to the proposed rule was to bring it in line with existing rules for the construction and maritime industries. This rule applies to what OSHA refers to as "general industry". The two parts of the proposed rule are Subpart D, the section governing walking and working surfaces in general as well as outlining when systems for fall protection may be necessary, and Subpart I, which describes the criteria for proper use of such systems. The research done by OSHA indicates that this ruling change will probably prevent about 20 deaths and more than 3,000 workplace injuries every year.

Most employers are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees who are injured on the job or who contract an occupational disease. Benefits can include medical care and partial wage replacement. An attorney can often help to ensure that a worker's claim is complete and that it is filed on a timely basis.

Article Source Web Link: National Law Review, "OSHA's Walking-Working Surfaces Final Rule Expected Soon", Tressi L. Cordaro, Oct. 11, 2016

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