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OSHA's top violation: Fall protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration checks companies for numerous violations, from exposure to hazardous chemicals to unsafe working conditions and much more.

Over and over, though, OSHA comes up with the same violation at the top of the list. It's simple: Workers don't use proper fall protection gear.

In some cases, this refers to the workers themselves. Many who work at heights need to have harnesses and ropes to keep them from falling.

However, tools and equipment are also covered under OSHA's fall protection regulations. This is perhaps why it's so high on the list. It's easy to remember that a construction worker needs to be tethered to a structure, but it's harder to remember that his or her power tools may need to be tied down as well.

Thinking there can't possibly be that many tools that are dropped? According to OSHA, there are over 50,000 annual incidents where workers are struck by objects that are falling. That means someone is hurt by falling tools, equipment and materials every 10 minutes.

And that doesn't even take into account all of the near misses that must happen and never get reported. If a worker drops a hammer when no one is around and no one sees it, odds are he or she just picks it back up and says nothing, even though that could have been a fatal event if another worker was standing below.

Have you been hit by something on a job site because fall protection gear was ignored or wasn't on the site at all? This is very common, so it's crucial for workers to know what rights they have.

Source: EHS Today, "The Sky Isn't Falling (And Your Tools Shouldn't Either)," Mark Caldwell, accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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