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Issues and solutions regarding workplace fall protection

In many workplaces in Colorado and across the country, problems exist in regards to fall protection applications and requirements. As a result, employers might be held accountable for any employee who becomes injured in an accident caused by an improper or inadequate fall protection system.

The problem particularly stems from confusion among employers regarding the type of fall safety equipment they are required to have for their employees. For this reason, employees are left with incomplete or poor equipment that may not sufficiently protect them if they should accidentally fall.

Another dilemma regarding the lack of fall protection at the workplace is that many employers do not see the equipment as a priority in their ongoing operations until after a serious accident takes place. To correct this mindset, however, employers should appoint a team of experienced and trained employees to take charge of purchasing, implementing and managing the correct fall protection systems for the company.

A further solution is for employers to provide fall arrest anchorage systems specially engineered for each of their employees. In fact, regulations promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration plainly mandate employers to implement fall protection for all employees who work at heights of four feet or more, but many employers believe this to be optional. However, if an employee suffers an injury because of a lack of such equipment, OSHA could fine the company or shut it down completely.

Workers' compensation exists in the event an employee is injured on the job, in most cases regardless of the manner in which the accident occurred. Immediately following the accident, injured employees may file for the insurance benefit in an effort to recover a portion of their earnings and medical expenses connected with their injuries. If employer negligence plays into the scenario, an attorney might advise the employee to file a lawsuit against the employer instead of filing a workers' compensation claim.

Source: OH&S Online, "Insights and Implications to Guide Your Fall Arrest Decisions", Sept. 4, 2015

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