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Lack of fall protection leads list of workplace safety violations

When it comes to workplace injuries, it's well known what the usual suspects are. This knowledge isn't merely anecdotal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has an information system that supplies a list of the ten most frequently cited violations of workplace place safety standards.

Violation of those standards often leads to injuries that require workers' compensation. Of course, if you are hurt within the scope of your employment, you may well be eligible for work comp even if no standard was violated. But in terms of the frequency of injuries, OSHA's list shows which hazards are the most common.

Topping the list of these hazards is lack of proper fall protection at job sites. Nationally, OSHA found over 7,000 of these violations in the one-year period from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012.

OSHA's fall protection standard is designed to protect workers on horizontal or vertical surfaces with an unprotected side or edge that is over 6 feet. The 7,250 violations in FY 2012 were somewhat more than the 7,139 violations in FY 2011.

Two other OSHA standards relating to falls also made the Top 10 list of most frequently cited hazards. Violations concerning safety requirements for scaffolding were in third place and standards regarding ladders were in fifth.

So falls at work are a persistent problem. Not surprisingly, injuries from falls are therefore one of the basic causes of workers' compensation claims.

To be sure, there are other dangers as well. The presence of hazardous chemicals also poses considerable risk of workplace injuries. Indeed, violation of OSHA's hazard communication standard was the second most frequent violation on its list in 2012.

Source: "Examining the Top 10," National Safety Council

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Pennsylvania workplace injuries page.

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