OSHA Tries to Make Walking Working Surfaces Safer for Employees with Proposed New Regulations Aimed at On-the-Job Slip and Falls


Sometimes, workplaces are so dangerous that it’s not even safe to walk there. On the job work injuries from just walking in the workplace are reported by OSHA to average 20 deaths each year, as well as over 3,500 slip and fall injuries that are severe enough that the injured employee has to stop working. These might appear to be small numbers, but serious fall injuries are more common than the numbers suggest. Just last month, Ken Allen represented Valparaiso’s Richard Proctor and his wife Sonia in a trial where the jury awarded the local couple $3.7 million for harm that Mr. Proctor suffered in a work-related fall, resulting in a serious brain injury.

Currently, the federal government only has regulations on walking surfaces for two industries: construction and maritime. OSHA's newly proposed regulation would extend these protections to all general industry workers. The newly proposed regulation also allows inspectors to, among other things, "fine employers who jeopardize their workers' safety and lives by climbing these ladders without proper fall protection."

Read the proposed changes, appearing as Federal Register: May 24, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 99)] [Proposed Rules] [Page 28861-29153], here.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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