All employers in every industry will be facing more stringent rules and regulations when it comes to preventing slip and fall accidents starting in 2017. Specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has applied various precautions concerning the training, use, and maintenance of protective equipment that have, until now, only applied to the construction business, in coming up with new rules and regulations that apply to all industries.
OSHA predicts that, by implementing the new rules consistently, approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites will be impacted, corresponding with the prevention of 6,000 injuries and 30 fatalities every year. However, these new rules will also likely have an impact on personal injury litigation related to slip and fall accidents, as anyone who experiences an injury or fatality due to a slip and fall accident that is brought about on a worksite which has failed to comply will likely have an easier time bringing a claim against their employer.
Specific Provisions & Changes to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
The rules will focus on establishing new requirements when it comes to general industry standards for walking and working surfaces, such as floors, ladders, roofs, scaffolds, elevated work surfaces, stairways, walkways, and related areas. According to OSHA, applying these same requirements to all industries—and not just on construction worksites—will help keep pace with technological advancements and enhance the use of national standards, promoting consistency in general.
Some employers have already adopted these standards due to workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits, as fall hazards are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries. Those that do not will need to set up a fall protection system program from several options– including guardrails, safety nets, positioning systems, travel restraints, handrails, ladder safety, and other options–as well as new requirements for fixed and portable ladders. Ladders must be able to support the maximum intended load at a minimum, where that load is calculated as the total weight and force anticipated to be applied by employees, equipment, and any other materials. All ladders must also be inspected before initial use, and portable ladders must include slip-resistant rungs and steps.
Other changes also prohibit the use of body belts as part of the fall arrest systems and require that all workers be trained on this equipment; and not only must employees who work with fall protection equipment be trained, but also anyone who works in circumstances where there is a risk of slipping and falling (for example, employees who work on a loading dock). That training must not only cover how to properly use the equipment, but also how to inspect, maintain, and store it.
Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys
Over the years, Dana & Dana have had remarkable results on slip and fall cases. We have also settled hundreds of these cases for our clients, helping them get back on their feet.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a slip and fall accident at work or elsewhere, contact us today to find out how we can help.