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OSHA believes updated rule will reduce work injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration periodically updates or otherwise changes its rules in an attempt to keep workers in a variety of industries safe. The agency recently updated its walking-working surfaces standards, which will more than likely impact no less than 112 million workers across the country, including many here in Arizona. OSHA believes the implementation of the updates will reduce work injuries and fatalities.

OSHA claims the new rule, which will go into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, will increase protections for workers against trips, slips and falls. Fall hazards continue to be a leading cause of death in many industries, especially construction. Changes such as the use of personal fall protection systems, which have been used in construction since 1994, will now be encouraged in general industries.

Construction workers could already be familiar with many of the updates to the rule, but it would not be a bad idea for companies to re-familiarize themselves with the rules to ensure that they are maximizing worker safety in this area. Employers will be able to use personal protection systems that work best for their industries. Changes that could be new to construction workers include the prohibition of body belts being used as part of a personal fall protection system. Training is required for all workers who will be using fall systems and personal fall protection systems.

Arizona employers are required to provide their workers with the proper safety equipment and train them how to use it. Even though most employers do what they can to keep their workers safe, work injuries still occur. When they do, workers' compensation benefits are available to help with issues such as medical bills, lost wages and possibly other needs during recovery and beyond.

Source: ehstoday.com, "112 Million Workers Impacted by Final OSHA Rule Updating Walking-Working Surfaces Standards", Sandy Smith, Nov. 17, 2016

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