The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced improvements to its walking-working surfaces safety standards for general industry employers. The new rule aims to prevent falls, slips and trips on the job.
Falls are the number one cause of workplace injury and death. While a fall can happen on any worksite, construction workers are at increased risk for falls-especially for falls from elevated heights. Workers who fall can suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, back and neck injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Severe brain or spinal cord injuries can result in death.
The new safety standards will take effect on January 17, 2017, and OSHA expects that they will reduce worker injuries by more than 5,800 per year and prevent 29 deaths annually.
What’s new about the ruling?
Changes in the walking-working surfaces safety standards allow employers to use the most appropriate fall protection for their industry and worksite. Some of the issues the updated standards address include:
- Training employers and workers about fall protection and hazards
- Personal fall protection systems
- Rope descent systems
- New technology in worker safety systems
These updates may benefit nearly 112 million workers in a variety of industries across the U.S.
Concerned about safety standards at your job?
If your employer violates OSHA standards, you can report them. Some workers do not report safety violations because they fear they will lose their job. However, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for reporting violations to OSHA.
If you are concerned about your working conditions or have suffered a work injury, you may wish to speak with a lawyer to learn what you can do to protect yourself.