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5-part protocol necessary for fall protection of workers

Not everyone in Colorado has the nerve to work in high places such as cranes, light towers, bridges or amusement park rides. The risks these workers take to build or maintain structures are well documented. Every year, falls account for a large share of construction site injuries. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration repeatedly cites employers for violations in fall protection safety procedures.

Developing a fall protection policy that increases safety and meets OSHA regulations requires an employer to attend to certain protocols. First, an employer must recognize and assess a hazard. The assessment should lead to the selection of appropriate safety gear. Understanding the manufacturer's instructions on safety equipment forms the second step. The equipment must withstand specific weights and forces and be anchored in the correct place. For the third step, a written policy for dealing with fall hazards and safety equipment must be created.

The fourth and fifth steps involve cross-referencing safety procedures to make sure they comply with OSHA regulations and best practices developed by the American National Standards Institute. Because of the complexities of various worksites, meeting OSHA regulations can be challenging. An employer can consult with its regional OSHA office to obtain specific guidance when questions arise.

An employer's failure to provide fall protection could result in fines and even criminal prosecution if a worker dies. Even employers who focus on workplace safety might see an employee get hurt on the job, however. Those who are injured in these types of workplace accidents are often eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits to help cover their medical and other expenses. Many injured workers seek the assistance of an attorney during the process.

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