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Reducing construction workplace risks in Pennsylvania

There are many risks that residential construction workers take while on the job. One of these risks involves falling, which could be heightened when working on homes that have multiple stories. For instance, a worker could fall out of an open bathroom window or through an opening in the floor. This risk may be mitigated by using fall protection equipment and following other OSHA fall safety standards.

The use of proper equipment is one important way to reduce the risk of a fall on a construction site. For instance, workers may be given access to fall restraint equipment that must be able to hold at least 3,000 pounds. Other anchor systems such as a personal fall arrest system may need to hold up to 5,000 pounds or more.

In the event that a worker is more than six feet above the ground, the employer must use some sort of fall safety equipment like guardrails or ladders. If this is not possible, an employer must have a written fall safety plan in place. The plan must be written by a qualified individual who is able to detail why the use of conventional equipment may cause a greater hazard to workers on a construction site.

Workers who become injured after a fall while on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits that can provide income to help an injured worker pay medical and other expenses. A worker who is unable to come back to work may be entitled to a permanent disability benefit. An attorney can be of assistance during the claims process as well as in a hearing when a claim has been disputed or denied.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Reducing Falls during Residential Construction: Erecting Exterior and Interior Walls", accessed on March 15, 2015

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