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OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign Raises Awareness of Serious Safety Hazards

fall_protectionOSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector to create a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among employers and workers about fall hazards in construction and how they can be prevented. In 2010, of the 774 total fatalities in the construction industry, 264 fatalities from caused by falls.

By following three simple steps, falls can be prevented. The steps include:

• planning ahead to get the job done safely

• providing the right equipment

• training everyone to use the equipment safely

By planning ahead for work from heights, decisions can be made on what tasks will be involved in completing the work, the safest way to do the job, and what safety equipment may be needed for each task. Safety equipment and tools can be included in the estimate of the cost of a job.

To provide safety for workers doing a job at six feet or more above lower levels, the correct equipment and fall protection must be provided, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. For roof work, personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) which may included harness that worker ties to an anchor may be required. The PFAS must fit the worker and the equipment must be inspected regularly to ensure it is in good condition and safe for use.

Workers must be trained in proper set-up and use of safety equipment they must use to complete a particular job. Employers must also train workers to recognize fall hazards involved in the work to be done.

As part of the Fall Prevention Campaign, many resources have been provided by OSHA and it’s partners. Print materials such as posters, fact sheets, booklets, and e-tools are available. A number of training videos are available that cover specific tasks which include fall risks. Links are provided on the OSHA website to publications and other educational materials from many sources which cover risks and prevention of falls in construction work. In addition to English language materials, there are training materials available in Spanish, as well as some in Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese.

Specific topics covered in training workers about fall prevention include ladder safety, scaffold safety, and roof safety. Videos provided cover particular types of work where falls hazards are common in construction including: floor openings, fixed scaffolds, bridge decking, reproofing, and leading edge work, and a more general video on fall prevention produced by California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE).

To learn more about OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign and to access training and educational resources visit http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html.



Connecticut Roofing Company Fined for Fall Hazards

Roof repair and construction are common causes of fallsA Milford, Connecticut roofing contractor, Roof Systems of Connecticut has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Proposed fines total $44,880. The citations are a result of a November 2012 inspection where officials spotted fall hazards.

Robert Kowalski, OSHA area director in Bridgeport, Connecticut explained inspection officials consistently visit job sites with inadequate or absent fall protection. It is critical workers have access to fall protection and training relevant to fall hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) initiated an aggressive awareness campaign focusing on fall hazards. Information, fact sheets, videos, and posters can be accessed from this link, http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html. OSHA loops falls into a category termed construction’s focus four. Falls, along with electrocutions, struck-by object, and caught-in or-between are the most common causes of death in the construction industry. Falls contributed to 35% of worker fatalities according to the latest statistics released by OSHA.

Despite OSHA’s increased emphasis on fall prevention and fall protection, Roof Systems of Connecticut was cited with three repeat violations. It is not the first time the company violated industry regulations regarding fall protection. The company was also cited in 2008 and 2009. At the November 2012 inspection, OSHA officials found workers exposed to falls of up to 11 feet 2 inches while installing roofing without fall protection. Workers were not trained to identify fall hazards and officials also noticed workers using a pneumatic gun without eye protection.

The three serious violations involved ladder hazards and neglecting to familiarize workers on ladder hazards. OSHA suggests the following basic tips to workers when working with ladders.

Ladder Safety Tips

• Select the appropriate ladder for the job.

• Maintain three points of contact.

• Secure the ladder.

• Stand in front of the ladder at ALL times.


Roof Systems of Connecticut has fifteen days from receipt of the citation to dispute OSHA’s claims.