Fall protection continues to be a serious concern in workplaces throughout Pennsylvania and across the country. Every year, OSHA releases a list of the most frequent workplace violations. For the sixth year in a row, fall protection violation has topped the list.
The 2017 list of violations covers the period from October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. OSHA says there were more than 6,000 violations of fall protection requirements during that time, including 1,523 citations issued for violations of fall protection training. This type of violation was new this year, most likely because of new fall protection training requirements that were implemented under the Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection rule. Workplaces were required to comply with the new rules by May 17 and may have encountered difficulties in doing so.
Other violations that made the top five for 2017 include safety requirements involving hazards communications, scaffolding, respiratory protection, and lockouts/tagouts. The top 10 list tends to be about the same from year to year. However, OSHA predicts that the new fall protection training requirements could cause more violations in that area for 2018.
When workplaces violate OSHA guidelines, they may have fines to pay or other penalties. If employees are injured on the job, they are usually covered by workers’ compensation. Because it is a no-fault insurance, a worker is covered even if they are to blame for their own injury. When a worker’s injury is caused by negligence on the part of their employer, the worker may opt to file a personal injury claim instead of a workers’ compensation claim.