Workers’ Compensation: OSHA’s Revised Slip and Fall Regulations

February 19, 2018

The federal agency charged with regulating safe working conditions for Americans, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised their guidelines regarding the causes of workplace slip and fall injuries. The new regulations might potentially prevent 5,000 slip and fall injuries in U.S. workplaces each year.

The revised rule, which became effective in January 2017, updated OSHA’s walking surfaces standards for trip and fall hazards for general industry, and establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems. The rule also creates more consistency between general industry and the construction industry. In a news release Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said, “The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries. OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls.”

OSHA estimates that the revised walking surfaces standards, and fall protection systems requirements will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries each year, and it will affect about 112 million workers at seven million workplaces.

Under the rule, employers can select the fall protection system that works best for them from a range of personal fall protection options with similar requirements to the construction industry for general industry employers.

Slip-and-fall injuries in the workplace

The National Floor Safety Institute reports that fatal falls are equally distributed between men and women, but more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. The BLS reports that falls account for about 5% of job-related fatalities for women and 11% for men. Falls account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits making them the leading cause of ER visits (21.2%) which is more than one million visits. Falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and they are the leading cause of occupational injury for people over age 55, and they are a primary cause of lost days from work.

Depending on the height of the fall, there are several common injuries from a slip, trip and fall at work which might include:

  • Broken bones
  • Hip fracture
  • Head injury/ traumatic brain injury
  • Back and neck injury
  • Spinal cord injury

Common causes of slip-and-fall injuries at work

The following are a few examples of situations in the workplace that could lead to a slip-and-fall accident:

  • Wet floors
  • Icy surfaces
  • Spilled liquids such as grease
  • Uneven steps
  • Unstable, defective or missing handrails
  • Poor lighting on stairwells
  • Openings in the floor
  • Uneven walking surfaces

Pennsylvania workers are exposed to many different slip-and-fall hazards in the workplace even if they do not work in the construction industry. If you have sustained a serious injury in a fall accident at work, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your first step is to seek medical attention for your injury and then report the injury to your employer. Workers’ compensation provides a partial wage loss benefit when you lose time at work because of your occupational injury, and it includes medical expenses for your work-related injury. If you are facing any type of dispute regarding your workers’ compensation benefits, you may want to speak to a Philadelphia workers compensation attorney who will help you to understand the legal options available to you.

When you have been hurt at work in a slip-and-fall accident, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates. We get you results. To arrange a no-cost consult to discuss your workers’ compensation case, fill out our contact form or call 888.PITT.LAW. We work with injured workers throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.