Falls from heights as well as a result of poor working surfaces is a problem on many Minnesota construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has long had standards dealing with this issue for both the construction and maritime industries. The federal agency also recognizes that this is a problem in other occupations as well, and it proposed a general industry as long ago as 1990. It updated it in 2010 and it has now cleared the final barrier for it to become effective.
The rule has been vetted by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The agency believe that the existing standards in general industry that use guardrails and physical barriers as the primary means for preventing a fall are, while effective, somewhat inefficient.
OSHA is now asking general industry employers to prepare and adopt personal fall-protection systems for the benefit of their employees. The safety agency believes that once the proposed rule becomes effective and is fully implemented by employers around the country, more than 3,000 injuries could be prevented on an annual basis and 20 lives saved each year.
It is an unfortunate fact that even with strict adherence to all safety guidelines, workplace accidents will continue to occur. People who are injured on the job often need medical care and treatment, and in many cases they are unable to return to work for prolonged periods of time. Most Minnesota employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and an attorney can often help an injured worker file a claim for benefits which can include the furnishing of care as well as partial wage replacement.