Fall accidents are among the leading causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths in the United States. Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued new rules intended to protect workers from dangerous falls.
The agency estimates the new rules will prevent approximately 202,066 serious injuries and 345 workplace fatalities each year. The rules better protect workers in many industries by clarifying standards and adding training and inspection requirements.
The rules were updated in part because of the expansion of technologies to prevent falls. Overall, the rule incorporates these advances, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide cutting-edge worker protection.
Fall Protection Systems
The new rules will allow employers more flexibility when choosing a fall protection system. For example, the rule replaces some outdated general industry standards regarding scaffolding. It abolishes a 1993 exemption for the outdoor advertising industry which permitted “qualified climbers” to work without fall protection.
Employers can choose between a guardrail system, a safety net system, a personal fall arrest system which works with a harness and anchor, a positioning system which connects with a harness or a body belt, a travel restraint system which prevents a worker from going over an unprotected ledge, or a ladder system.
Falls from Ladders
The new rule has also added ladder fall protection requirements. Falls from ladders account for over 20 percent of slip and fall accidents at work. The rule includes protections to prevent workers from falling off fixed and portable ladders. One requirement is that the certain ladders must be able to support four times their maximum intended load. More inspections of the ladders will also be required.
Rope Descent Systems
The rule also addresses the use of rope descent systems. This is a system that is largely used by window washers and consists of roof anchorage, a support rope, a descent device with carabiners and a chair or a seatboard. The rule puts in a place a 300-foot-height limit for the use of the rope descent system.
Most importantly, the rule specifies that employers ensure that employees receive adequate training about falls at work. The training will help workers identify and minimize fall hazards and how to use personal fall protection systems. The rule also puts into place deadlines for employers to act.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Help Those Injured in Fall Accidents at WorkWorkers who sustain serious injuries as a result of a fall may be entitled to additional benefits under Workers’ Compensation laws. Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross will advocate on your behalf to ensure you recover the full amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits to which you are entitled. We will also advise you as to whether you may have claims under any other applicable laws. Call us today at 215-512-1500 or 267-589-0090 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation at our Philadelphia office.