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OSHA plans to update safety rules for shipyard workers

Workers at shipyards in New York have an opportunity to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about safety issues. The administration is planning to update Subpart E of its standards for fall prevention in shipyard workplaces and wants input from the people in the industry.

Fall prevention regulations for ship-related job sites have not been updated since 1971. Shipyard employers have been urging regulators to consolidate rules for their industry into a single section. Currently, portions of information about best practices for preventing falls are found within construction industry regulations while others are outlined within a section specific to the shipbuilding industry. Additionally, regulations do not reflect advances in technology.

Building, repairing and dismantling ships often require workers to use scaffolds and ladders. After looking at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OSHA identified falls as the top reason for deaths among shipyard workers. Between 1992 and 2014, an average of 40 percent of worker deaths in this industry could be attributed to falls, according to the BLS.

A person hurt on the job would generally qualify for benefits from the employer's workers' compensation plan. When a person has difficulty obtaining these benefits, a lawyer could advance the claim for the worker. The lawyer could also review the circumstances of the injury to see if any parties outside of the employer contributed to the accident. If the negligent action of a third-party contractor caused the problem, then a lawsuit against the responsible party might be appropriate. After collecting all of the required evidence, the lawyer could file the court paperwork and pursue compensation for medical bills and lost pay.

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