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Standards for protecting construction workers from falls

Iron workers have some of the most hazardous jobs in the construction industry. Every year, falls are consistently among the top sources for injuries and fatalities on construction sites in Tennessee and nationwide. Meanwhile, fall protection violations lead the list of citations reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration annually. However, by carefully following OSHA's fall protection standard, employers can greatly reduce risks on the construction site.

According to OSHA, employers must protect every employee walking or working more than 15 feet above a lower level. Employees must be protected from falls by guardrails, safety nets, fall restraints, positioning devices or personal fall arrest systems. The easiest way to prevent falls is learning to recognize a fall hazard when it is seen. Employers should carefully observe work sites for clearly dangerous conditions and work to correct them. This can be done by either choosing a different method for completing a task or by taking measures to protect workers who must complete the task. Employers who fail to do this could leave themselves open to lawsuits in the event of a worker's death.

It is also of critical importance to ensure all instructions, policies and regulations are followed. To this end, all work equipment must be used in strict compliance with the manufacturer's instructions. It should also be noted that all ANSI "best practices" standards become mandatory once adopted by OSHA, and all internal company policies must be followed, whether they meet or exceed OSHA minimum standards.

Most Tennessee work accident victims are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance, which provides certain medical and financial benefits for injured employees. An injured worker may find it helpful to work with a lawyer when filing a worker's compensation claim to ensure that all required documentation is included and all deadlines are met.

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