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Taking a systematic approach to workplace fall protection

Busy workers in Texas often rely on the safety systems put in place by employers to alert them to workplace hazards. People charged with evaluating risks, especially in distribution centers and warehouses, should consider all three dimensions of the workplace environment. These workplaces often have multiple levels, such as loading docks, mezzanines and elevated platforms, that give workers access to racks of inventory.

Adherence to fall protection rules established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is essential to limit accidents and injuries. Falls represent the leading cause of severe injuries and worker deaths in general industry.

Guardrails, safety nets and worker harnesses provide the means of protecting workers in various multi-level work areas. Safety regulations specifically state that employers must choose an appropriate safety strategy to protect workers exposed to edges that are 4 feet or higher than another level. The administration recently updated fall protection rules. Some have taken effect while others will roll out in the future. Regulators estimate that the changes could prevent as many as 29 deaths a year and close to 6,000 injuries that result in lost days of work.

When workers fall, they could experience serious or even disabling problems, like a spine or brain injury. After a workplace injury, a person should be able to make a workers' compensation claim. Difficulties could arise, however, if an employer does not want to recognize the accident or the insurance company denies payment for necessary treatments. An attorney might help a worker overcome these barriers by asserting the client's rights and even filing a lawsuit to challenge an insurance company denial. The efforts of an attorney could allow the worker to access necessary benefits to pay for rehabilitation therapy or provide a disability benefit.

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