Workers in a variety of fields face heights on a daily basis. While New Yorkers might think of construction workers, as being high off the ground, a variety of industrial workers also spend time on elevated platforms and in other dangerous locations. In these cases, workplace falls can occur leading to serious injuries. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls are some of the most common types of workplace injuries. This can leave workers and employers asking what can be done to prevent workplace accidents involving falls.
OSHA has several safety regulations in place to keep New York workers safe from falls. These regulations are the responsibility of the employer to have in place to keep workers safe. The exact rules, however, depend on the specific job a worker is engaged in and therefore this post cannot provide specific legal advice.
In general, though, employer may be required to provide fall protection for workers. Depending on the job this could include harnesses, safety lines, hand railing or stair rails. Additionally, employers need to guard holes that workers could fall into. Depending on the situation, a floor hole cover, a toe-board or a railing could be used to guard holes. Using guardrails on open platforms could also be required.
Additionally, employers must keep the workplace free of hazards that could cause falls — including clean, dry floors. Protective equipment, and safety training must be given to employees. And all known dangers must be removed from work areas.
If these standards are not followed, the business could face punishments by OSHA whether or not an injury occurs. If an employee is injured, that employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation.