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Fall protection tops OSHA's list of safety violations

For the sixth year in a row, fall protection violations were number 1 on OSHA's list of the 10 most common workplace safety violations. The list is a summary of data from fiscal year 2017, which spanned from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. While many other violations are not new to the list, others are, which should be of concern to business owners in Georgia and the rest of the U.S.

The failure of companies to follow general fall protection requirements led to more than 6,000 citations in fiscal year 2017. This meant that many companies did not, for example, provide railing and safety nets for elevated work areas or give workers safety harnesses and lines. The list continues with violations in the areas of hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, and lockout/tagout requirements to control hazardous energy.

One previously unseen item is the failure to provide adequate training for fall protection: A total of 1,523 citations were issued in 2017. This means that many workers have not been trained on fall and equipment hazards and do not know the proper way to use and maintain fall protection equipment. The increase in citations may be due to OSHA devising new fall protection training requirements with its recent Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection rule.

When workplace injuries are caused by employers' failure to comply with OSHA regulations, the victims have two options. They can file for workers' compensation benefits, or they can file an injury claim. Either way, legal help may be very important. A lawyer might bring in investigators to establish where the employer was negligent and estimate a reasonable settlement; the lawyer may then negotiate for that settlement. With workers' compensation, no proof of negligence will be necessary although the settlement may be lower.

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