Falls are a common cause of serious injury at work, often resulting in avoidable deaths. The sad reality is that many of the serious injuries and deaths that result from falls today are the result of not following proper regulations or best practices when it comes to safety. OSHA has a long list of rules that workplaces need to follow depending on their type of business, but even beyond that there are usually additional best practices aimed at reducing the risk of injury and occupational hazards.
Some of the requirements for employers include providing working conditions that are free of known dangers, keeping work areas clean and dry (if possible), providing appropriate protective equipment for workers exposed to dangerous situations, and training workers on job hazards. There are also a number of rules when it comes to industry worksites. These include guards for any floor holes in which a worker may accidentally fall, guardrails where appropriate, and other fall protections such as safety harnesses or safety nets where applicable.
Any employer who does not follow OSHA requirements is putting themselves at great legal risk as the Federal government takes violations very seriously. By not following the appropriate guidances, a business may put themselves at criminal and civil risk in the form of increased liabilities and legal battles. If you are an employee at a site that may not be following OSHA regulations, you may want to give an anonymous tip to appropriate authorities who can help ensure your protection. In some cases there may even be whistleblower programs that are associated with this kind of tip which could lead to a financial reward.
But any rewards aside, it is of the utmost importance that employers follow safety regulations because in the end they are there to reduce exploitation and to protect workers from avoidable injuries, including those which may be fatal. The work of OSHA is a direct result of past issues with ignoring safety that led to tremendous tragedies which should not occur again. Remember, that it is the requirement of your employer to provide you with a safe work environment and fall protection as well as any gear you need to make it safe (at no cost). At the same time, it is also important to take personal responsibility and make sure that you understand the rules and policies and to get clarification on anything that is not clear as this will assure the safest endpoints.
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