Emphasize Fall Prevention This Spring
Falls make up the largest percentage of construction fatalities in the U.S.
More than 980 construction workers died on the job in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 378 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation.
Consequently, OHSA has been increasingly vigilant in its enforcement activities in this area.
OSHA’s Fall Prevention Week will be held during the week of May 1 this year.
Each year, in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Center for Construction Research and Training, OSHA develops various communication tools employers can use to promote fall prevention.
OSHA encourages employers to conduct a safety stand-down by taking a break to conduct a safety activity with employees, such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards.
General guidelines are as follows.
- Guard every floor hole where a worker can accidentally walk. To do this, use a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover.
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
Other means of fall protection that certain jobs may require include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails.
Interestingly, it should also be mentioned that March is National Ladder Safety Month. OSHA has developed various resources to assist employers in this effort.
A contractor in New Hampshire recently experienced the costly result of failing to require fall prevention practices.
OSHA fined Ridge Runner Construction LLC $234,000 after inspectors found the company exposed employees to falls of up to 20 feet as they installed shingles or performed roofing work, and worked on ladders that did not extend at least three feet above the roofs’ edges for required stability.
Inspectors said the contractor also failed to provide effective fall protection training, ensure proper anchorage for lifelines and have a competent person inspect both worksites to identify and correct hazards.
OSHA previously cited the company for fall-related hazards at worksites in 2021 and 2017.
Consequently, OSHA cited Ridge Runner Construction for willful, repeat, and serious safety violations, totaling $234,741 in proposed penalties.
OSHA regional administrator Galen Blanton will speak to attendees at CBIA’s 2023 Safety and Health Conference April 28. Blanton will address the agency’s concerns about employer performance in the area as well as other agency initiatives.
For questions about fall prevention, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery.
EXPLORE BY CATEGORY
Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests
The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.