Schemery Zicolello

Falls: A common Pennsylvania workplace hazard

Any Pennsylvania workplace presents at least a few hazards to its workers. In many cases, safety standards exist to help to reduce this risk and prevent unnecessary workplace accidents. Pennsylvania workers may not know, however, that falls are some of the most common workplace accidents. A fall can seriously injure workers, especially if it is from a high distance. In particular, some workers are at risk of falling into holes in the walls or floors of their workplace, falling from elevated work stations and toppling from overhead platforms.

According to the United States Department of Labor, several standards have been adopted to help prevent dangerous falls and keep workers safe. In particular, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires that fall protections must be available to employees working in any general industry for elevations four feet or higher. For the construction industry, protections must be provided for heights six feet or greater. If a worker is above a dangerous machine or other hazard then protections must be provided regardless of the height.

Under OSHA standards, these protections include providing a toe-board and guard rail around open sided floors, platforms and runways. Additional protections can include providing stair rails, safety nets, hand rails and harnesses, depending on the type of job the worker is performing. Other safety measures to prevent falls include training employees, keeping floors clean and dry and removing any other obvious dangers.

This safety equipment is vital to protecting workers from falling. OSHA requires that these protections be provided to employees at no cost. Violations of these rules could lead to workplace accidents, worker injuries and workers' compensation claims.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Fall Protection," accessed Aug. 17, 2014

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Fall Protection," accessed Aug. 17, 2014

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Commonwealth v. Candice Steinbacher – Motion for Judgement Acquittal Granted

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