Are Employers Ignoring OSHA’s Warnings on Fall Protection
OSHA has put a special emphasis on improving fall protection lately, but it doesn’t appear that it has done much to reduce the number of construction injuries. Why exactly is this the case? Are companies failing to heed OSHA’s continued warnings?
Fall accidents are still the top cause of deaths in the construction industry. To give you a sense of how big the problem is, 39.9 percent of all construction deaths happen because of falls. That’s a total of 359 deaths per year. Despite a sizable campaign to curb these numbers, employers don’t appear to be changing their ways.
OSHA information shows that residential construction companies in particular have a bad record with fall accidents. They continue to hire contractors who haven’t been properly trained or equipped to protect against fall accidents. A high number of OSHA inspections into contractors in the homebuilding industry reported safety issues such as improper harness usage.
Companies, workers and regulators need to work together to heed OSHA’s warning and create a safer environment for all workers.
How to Create Fall Protection
OSHA recommends that workplaces hold what they call a “stand down.” That’s a special event where employers talk directly with workers about fall protection and other safety measures. A stand down will train workers on how to stay safe, and go through a review of any potential problems on the site. Any third party contractors involved in the project should also be included in this discussion.
The idea of a stand down is to focus on prevention through education. Many of the accidents that occur happen either because workers are not getting the training they need or because of a miscommunication between workers and employers. A conversation about safety, set in the middle of the day, when people will be most attentive, can have a massive impact on the safety of a work site in any industry.
OSHA believes that we can cut down the number of these dangerous and preventable hazards in the workplace. Everyone deserves to go home from work safe.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is a workers’ compensation law firm that has been fighting to protect injured workers for more than 80 years.