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OSHA updates standards to prevent slip-and-fall injuries

In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its rules related to slip, trip and fall safety of Walking-Working Surfaces. OSHA says it hopes to prevent 29 deaths and nearly 6,000 injuries nationwide every year under the new guidelines.

The updated rules allow employers to choose from a range of options for fall protection systems. Companies in the construction injury have been allowed to choose their own systems since 1994, according to OSHA, but the update applies this rule to all industries.

How does this apply to Michigan workers?

In 2014, slips, trips and falls were the second most frequent cause of death in the workplace in Michigan, accounting for 17 percent of workplace fatalities. This rate matches the national figures. White, non-Hispanic males between the age of 25 and 54 were the most likely demographic to suffer an injury or death in the workplace.

If the new OSHA rules do prevent more workplace fatalities and injuries, they could help to lower Michigan workers' compensation insurance premiums, which have decreased 39 percent since 2011. Employers who save money on insurance premiums could pass the savings onto Michiganders by hiring more workers, says Governor Rick Snyder.

What if I'm injured in the workplace?

If you are injured at work, you can file for workers' compensation. Certain factors dictate what form you need to fill out including the type and severity of your injury. It is important to keep track of your out of pocket injury costs including medical bills and wages lost due missed days of work.

A strict deadline accompanies most paperwork that you wish to file. The process is complicated and confusing, but the need for accountability on behalf of your employer and the involved insurance companies creates red tape.

A skilled and hardworking attorney with expertise in workers' compensation and personal injury law can help you through the claims process. We will stand by your side through deadlines and red tape to ensure that you can achieve recovery and gain access to long-term care related to your workplace injury.

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