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Fall protection issues lead workplace safety violations

Pennsylvania workers can face an array of dangerous conditions in the workplace, some of which are caused by an employer's neglect of federal safety standards. At the 2018 National Safety Council Congress, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration deputy director unveiled the agency's top 10 violations of workplace safety rules for the prior year. The statistics covered the period beginning in October 2017 and ending in September 2018, and they highlighted certain common hazards on the job.

The top item on the list has remained the same for the past several years, and violations can lead to serious workplace injuries and even deaths: failure to provide fall protection. Employers have a duty to provide proper protective equipment to prevent falls from heights or to minimize risk if they occur. However, 7,270 violations were issued for failing to provide fall protection to workers operating on roofs or unguarded edges. In addition to failing to provide fall protection equipment, employers' training methods were also lacking. OSHA issued 1,982 violations in the past year for failure to meet training requirements for fall protection. Employers failed to provide training or make sure that a competent person was providing it.

Other major safety concerns also related to protective equipment. There were 1,536 violations for the tenth item on OSHA's list: failing to provide eye and face protection. Workers were not given the needed gear to protect their eyes and face from damage when working with flying objects or caustic gases.

When workers are injured on the job, they could face severe injuries and permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to work. In some cases, these injuries are caused by employer violations of workplace safety. A workers' compensation lawyer may help injured employees to protect their rights and seek the benefits they deserve.

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