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Fall hazards the cause of many employees being injured at work

Authorities say the most common cause of workplace injuries across all industries is falling. Employers in Colorado and elsewhere must protect the safety and health of their employees, and protection against falls is essential. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations for each industry. Although the height at which protection is required differs from one industry to the next, falls can cause employees to be injured at work in all environments.

Hazards that are most frequently responsible for workers' injuries in industrial facilities include uncovered holes in floors, along with elevated walkways and stairways without safety rails. Other workers who are often exposed to heights include tree trimmers, those who work on utilities, such as power poles, wind turbines and cellphone masts. Also, construction workers, roofers and those who move about on steel constructions high above ground level are at greater risks.

While covers for holes and rails on platforms and stairways can protect industrial workers, fall harnesses and lanyards are vital pieces of protective equipment for others. However, providing PPE is not enough to protect employees. Proper safety training to teach workers the importance of using safety equipment and the correct way to wear and use it must not be neglected. Too many fatality reports say the victims were wearing safety harnesses, but the lanyards were not secured to arrest their falls.

After being injured at work, victims are entitled to pursue financial assistance through the Colorado workers' compensation insurance system. Families who have lost loved ones in such circumstances may file death benefits claims with the insurance program. Benefits typically cover medical expenses and/or end-of-life costs, along with a percentage of lost wages.

Source: OSHA, "Fall Protection", Accessed on Oct. 22, 2016

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