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OSHA's rules on designing a workplace free of falling accidents

Falling is one of the most serious dangers that any industrial worker can face. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a set of standards that are meant to protect a South Carolina worker from suffering a major injury or fatality because of falling. Although the rules recognize that many work sites are different, and some systems will be inapplicable under some situations, the maximum force that a worker can encounter from a fall is tightly regulated.

As a general rule, employers are not allowed to maintain a workplace where a worker can free fall more than six feet. There are several categories of OSHA-approved devices that may be used to prevent a fall or catch a falling worker.

Safety belts and harnesses are considered to be acceptable forms of fall protection in cases where guard rails, safety nets and other such systems cannot be deployed. Although OSHA regulations allow a worker to go into circumstances where they may fall further than the six foot limit, so long as there are belts and harnesses to catch them, the amount of arresting force that the safety gear can apply to the worker at one time is also regulated.

Workplace injuries on construction sites can often result in extended periods of hospitalization for the victim. In addition to mounting medical expenses, those who are injured suffer further adverse financial consequences when they are unable to work. An attorney can often assist an injured worker who is covered by workers' compensation insurance to file a claim for benefits that can help defray some of these expenses.

Source: OH&S Online, "Fall Protection for Iron Workers", Marty Sharp, July 1, 2015

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