North Carolina work accidents involving falls come under federal microscope

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced plans to require improved safety measures aimed at reducing the number of injuries caused by slipping, tripping or falling in the workplace.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers are frequently called to handle fall accident cases throughout the state, including Raleigh, Greensboro and Durham. Fall accidents are among the leading causes of serious and fatal work injuries in North Carolina and throughout the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 234,000 injury cases involved falls in the workplace during 2008. A total of 4,670 employees in the private sector were seriously injured as a result of falls suffered while on the job.

“This proposal addresses workplace hazards that are a leading cause of work related injuries and deaths,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

Last month, our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog reported the case of a fatal Greensboro work accident that occurred when a man fell several stories while working on an airplane.

The government will issue revisions to employer requirements after holding a public comment period.

Employers are required to provide proper training and safety equipment to employees who work at height or who may otherwise be at risk of being injured in a fall. However, current regulations permit employers to use outdated or dangerous fall-protection gear, including lanyards and body belts, which can result in a worker suffering greater injuries in a fall. Proposed revisions would require general industry workers to be provided with the more advanced safety equipment currently used in the maritime and construction industries, including self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope-descent systems.

Current walking-working surfaces standards also do not permit the Occupational Health & Safety Administration to fine employers who allow workers to use ladders without fall protection. Changes that would permit fines are also in the works.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or are dealing with a worker’s compensation or disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

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