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OSHA makes decision on walking surfaces and fall protection

In November, OSHA finally released an update to its standard that addresses walking/working surfaces, which will go into effect on Jan. 17, 2017. The agency anticipates that the new regulations will prevent up to 29 fatalities and more than 5,500 workplace injuries annually.

Since 1994, OSHA has allowed the use of personal fall protection systems in the construction industry. One of the most significant changes is the adoption of this practice into general industry and it allows employers to choose the system that is most effective for their particular work environment.

Since being injured in the workplace is a significant risk, especially if you are in the general industry sector, keeping the jobsite safe should be your employer's number one priority. However, if you have been injured at a job site, it is important that you understand your options when it comes to filing a workers' compensation claim in New York.

Additional changes to the rule

OSHA's updates include allowing employers to use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level and prohibiting the use of body belts as part of a personal fall prevention system.

The new rule also requires that workers be trained in how to use the fall protection systems and any other equipment employers use to prevent falls.

The new requirements for general industry are in line with the requirements already in place for the construction sector, since similar job duties are performed in each industry.

Other hazards at the job site

Aside from falling, many job sites have other hazards that can cause injury if you are not careful or if they are not properly maintained or secured.

Ladders, scaffolding and uncovered holes are some of the most common dangers you can encounter while on the job. Be sure you use ladders on level ground and scaffolding is erected properly before use. Also, stay alert when you're walking through the site and watch for holes, trenches, or objects that might cause you to trip.

Also, beware of falling objects, such as pipes, bricks and even tools. Live electrical lines that are frayed or unsecured can also be hazardous.

No one wants to get injured on the job, but if you do, you have the right to file a workers' compensation claim to cover your medical expenses as well as lost wages. If you have been injured at the workplace, let a local New York attorney with experience in personal injury claims give you the hand you need.

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