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National stand against falls on the job

Minnesota residents who are concerned with occupational safety may have heard that the workweek that began on June 2 was designated as the National Fall Safety Stand-Down. The goal of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration-sponsored event was to get workers nationwide to talk about the potential for falls and how they can be prevented. The Labor Department estimated that about 1 million workers took an hour off for the event during the week.

Falls are a concern to workers in a variety of jobs, particularly the construction industry where falls are the leading cause of death. The OSHA violation that employers are cited for most frequently is the fall protection requirement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most up-to-date statistics, the nationwide total of fatalities from construction falls in 2012 was 269.

OSHA encourages workplace safety training for all employees, as well as the use of safety equipment such as guard rails, safety harnesses, lines and anchors. The assistant labor secretary said that the most vulnerable workers are new, young and temporary employees.

A fall or any other on-the-job accident can be life changing. Workers' compensation insurance usually covers workplace accidents that occurred while someone was working, even if the worker was off site. Filing a workers' compensation claim can be complicated. Minnesota has several categories of benefits, and those that a person is eligible for depends on the type and severity of the injury suffered. An attorney could help someone to understand the workers' compensation claim process and assist them in filing.

Source: Cronkite News, 'Stand-downs prevent falling down: Taking a break to focus on safety," Miranda Rivers, June 6, 2014

Source: herald-review.com, "Taking a stand against fall injuries", June 02, 2014

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