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Pennsylvania utility workers possibly impacted by new regulations

In an effort to reduce the work accident risk, New Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations which put a stop to free climbing practices that are used by many electrical utility workers, have been put into place. Ever since the 1990's, workers on cellular towers have had to climb using harnesses, yet many electrical workers were exempt from the rules. It is common practice for some electric line workers to climb to heights of close to 200 feet without safety harnesses.

Companies that currently permit free climbing will have until April of 2015 to comply with the new rule. According to OSHA, free climbing will only be permitted under very select circumstances. Safety experts have cited the fact that fatalities have occurred because of the practice. OSHA estimates that about 74 line workers die every year and asserts that many of them could have been saved if they were using the proper safety equipment.

Workplace accidents may result in severe injury or death. Those who survive such incidents might be unable to work due to the injuries they have sustained, and the cost of treating such wounds can be very high. However, in many cases, damages suffered due to a workplace accident might be covered by workers' compensation.

It is often a major relief for a worker who injured on the job to know that they have access to such benefits. Funds paid out after a workers' compensation claim is completed might cover the cost of medical care and might provide additional money to replace lost wages partially. A lawyer could help an injured worker pursue such benefits.

Source: KUOW, "Feds Ban Free Climbing By Electric Utility Workers", John Ryan, July 23, 2014

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