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Fall hazards high in 2015, lead to higher penalties in 2016

When you think about all the possible hazards at work, is falling one that makes you concerned for your safety? If you fall, you may have to file workers' compensation and deal with the pain and struggle of the injury. A Jan. 12 report shows that you may be right to be concerned about your safety, but there are more protections coming to back up your right to safety. Falling is one of the main causes of injuries on the job, and because of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is planning to increase the fines for businesses that don't protect employees from fall hazards.

If a business violates the standards set by OSHA, the fines they face can be astronomical. For instance, one contractor based in New Hampshire has been fined over $100,000 after failing to protect his employees from hazards on the job including falling.

If hazards aren't corrected, the businesses cited can be further penalized. A company can be placed on a list kept by OSHA called the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

What will happen to benefit those at risk of fall hazards? Since falls were the most frequent citations in 2015, fines are increasing. It used to be that a serious violation would cost a company $7,000; now, it will cost the company $12,600. Repeat violations have also jumped in cost up from $70,000 to $126,000. With such an expensive penalty to pay, it's hoped that companies will begin to take worker safety more seriously the first time and quickly correct hazards to prevent a secondary fine and citation. Now, OSHA employees can also perform more stringent inspections, which means that things that may have been missed in the past are less likely to escape a citation a second time around.

Source: Hydrocarbons-technology.com, "Fall Protection Violations Face Likelihood of Higher Fines and Increased Frequency in 2016," Jan. 12, 2016

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