Serious workplace accidents come in a variety of forms and can occur in a variety of circumstances. One common cause of injuries and deaths, particularly in the construction industry, is when workers slip and fall. Wise businesses work to minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents, both with respect to clients or customers and workers, but some employers simply don’t do enough to prevent these accidents.
Looking at the issue from the standpoint of workplace safety, businesses can face serious expenses for failing to address slip-and-fall risks. Federal regulators take the issue seriously. In fact, last year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued new safety standards regarding surfaces, including floors, stairs, ladders, platforms, and any surface where people walk and work.
The standards, which are the same as those currently used in the construction industry, require routine inspection of surfaces where there is traffic. As some have pointed out, many employers may not be aware of these standards, but they are nevertheless required to comply with them. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure employers are working to minimize slip and fall hazards.
Businesses which fail to follow workplace safety standards can face penalties in connection with citations, as well as increased workers’ compensation costs. In some exceptional cases, employers may also face litigation for worker injuries, though generally workers are limited to workers’ compensation benefits.
Compliance with workplace safety standards is an area workers can play an important role. For one thing, workers can keep an eye on safety compliance in the workplace and keep their employer apprised of the situation. Workers can also report violations to OSHA. Workers can and should also seek workers’ compensation when they are injured in a slip-and-fall accident at work.
Slip-and-fall accidents are also an important risk businesses need to address when it comes to clients or customers as well. In our next post, we’ll say a bit more about this topic.