For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection(29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. While the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. In the meantime, fall fatalities from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Above all, the BLS data reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation. In an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries, organizations should participate in OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down event and activities. The one-week event aims to raise fall hazard awareness and reinforce fall protection training across the country.
All Workplaces Are Encouraged to Hold a Safety Stand-Down
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. All workplaces should hold a stand-down event or meeting to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of preventing falls. However, participation is not limited to the construction industry, and no business is too small to participate. Workplaces that are not exposed to fall hazards should also leverage this opportunity to promote a positive safety culture. In fact, OSHA recorded that many non-construction employers held Stand-Down events.
In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, contractors, general industry employers, the U.S. Military and other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
Additionally, several domestic and international companies working outside of the United States participated in past Stand-Downs, and OSHA hopes to have more international participation this year.
How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
Generally, managers should plan a Stand-Down that works best for their workplace schedule. Accordingly, some of the recommended practices in conducting a Safety Stand-Down are as follows:
Conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk.
Inspections of safety equipment, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards.
Develop presentations or activities that provide information about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. In addition, sharing hands-on exercises, including a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc., can also increase retention.
Besides, consider inviting the subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the Stand-Down for a collaborative effort.
Employers may share information on their Stand-Down events, Fall Prevention Programs, or suggestions with OSHA on how initiatives such as these can be improved. Employers can also download a certificate of participation following the event.
Resources for Preventing Fall Hazards
In summary, employers should provide competent person training and proper supervision in the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards. Virtual Reality Fall Protection Training can provide an effective and engaging way to practice and validate fall safety requirements without the real-world consequences. Learn more about VR curriculums developed by industry experts to help raise risk awareness and to help prevent fall accidents.
APPLETON, WI – OSHA cited an Appleton-based contractor twice in six months for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards.
In June 2021, OSHA cited the company during an inspection at a Neenah job site and proposed $21,140 in penalties. The citation included failing to provide workers with fall protection equipment and training and a ladder extending at least 3 feet above the landing surface.
Despite the consequences of the June citation, OSHA has issued one willful, one repeat, and one serious violation six months later. The proposed penalties total $49,722, based on OSHA’s observations of six roofers atop a two-story Algoma duplex on Nov. 2, 2021.
The Contractor’s History of Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
The pair of recent inspections continues the company’s history of failing to protect its roofing workers. In 2017 and 2018, OSHA cited the company for similar hazards at other job sites. The company has neither paid OSHA penalties assessed in June 2021 nor complied with requirements to provide abatement information.
“Apple Roofing Solutions continues to show a flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of its workers and the law. Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs. It is also OSHA’s most frequently cited hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “This company seems willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries, debilitation, or worse. OSHA will hold Apple Roofing Solutions, and other employers like them, accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions.”
Fall Protection Remains OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard
For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in 2020 that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation.
Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
In summary, Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. The training provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. In addition, learn more aboutVR curriculums developed by subject matter experts created to raise risk awareness and provide training for preventive measures against fall accidents.
Fort Worth, Texas – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited two contractors for fall hazards and is seeking six-figure penalties. On Sept. 17, OSHA cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards, a total of nine repeated and six serious violations. The offenses included failing to ensure scaffolding was planked correctly and secured, providing a ladder for safe egress, and inspecting scaffolding. Later, on Sept. 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, an Ohio-based contractor, with severe eye and fall protection violations. The company has exposed its workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. OSHA is seeking fines totaling $216,265 and $253,556, respectively.
“Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in a recent statement. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided with fall protection equipment and are well trained. Too often, OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection,” Eberts continued. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, a total of 5,424 times in the fiscal year (FY) 2020. At the same time, the scaffolding standard (§1926.451) is the fourth most commonly cited standard with a total of 2,538 violations in FY 2020.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
In fact, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented this preliminary data from FY 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30) on Oct. 12 during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. The complete list is as below:-
Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
DENTON, TX – In March 2021, The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected a Forth Worth masonry company. OSHA cited the Texas Masonry Company for fall hazards, as well as silica hazards. OSHA previously cited the company, RRM Masonry and Stucco Inc., for violations in 2018 and 2019.
This inspection took place as part of OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program for construction falls. Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.
The Texas Masonry company cited for fall hazards was issued citations for nine repeat and six serious violations. This included the company failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, and provide a ladder for safe egress and inspect scaffolding. The proposed penalties total $216,265.
Area Director Timothy Minor stated in an OSHA press release, “RM Masonry and Stucco has shown repeated disregard for worker safety. Employers should never put profits before the safety of their workers. OSHA will do everything in its power to protect workers and hold serial violators like this accountable.”
According to OSHA’s press release, RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. is a privately-owned construction company with approximately 40 employees.
RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
BUNNELL, FL – A Florida contractor was cited for fall hazard violations, totaling over $61k. Fall safety is often the number one cited Safety Violation of the year. OSHA released this announcement on April 7th, 2021.
OSHA stated this citation was part of its Regional Emphasis Program for Fall in Construction. The contractor cited for fall hazard violations, P & S Service Group Inc. has repeat violations for failing to ensure employees use fall protection while working from heights greater than 6 feet. The company was cited for a similar violation in October, 2017. The 2021 violation totals $61,575. P & S, a framing and and sheathing contractor, has 15 days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings before OSHA.
According OSHA’s press release, and BizJournals.com OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida stated “This employer has repeatedly disregarded the safety of their employees despite previous OSHA violations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected from these well-known hazards.”
MARLTON, NJ – Six contractors were cited for fall safety hazards on a luxury home construction site. OSHA listed the six companies in their press release put out on Monday. Combined, there were 4 willful and 35 serious violations. Most the violations were for failing to provide fall protection or fall protection training. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They are also repeatedly the number one most frequently cited violation of the year for OSHA.
The penalties total $244,397. One of the six contractors cited for fall safety, Lifetime Contractor Corp., is responsible for over half of those penalties. OSHA began the inspections as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. On October 20th, 2020, a compliance officer observed workers exposed to falls and other hazards. The same was observed during a second inspection the 22nd. This prompted a third inspection on the 31st.
OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick was quoted as saying, “A fall can permanently alter or end a worker’s life in a matter of seconds. Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry have a legal obligation to comply with the law and ensure their workers end their shifts safely. When employers fail to follow requirements, OSHA will hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, in partnership with PIXO VR, offers Fall Protection Training to help companies avoid fines such as these.
Philadelphia, PA– The absence of fall protection resulted in an OSHA investigation for a construction contractor in Philadelphia, PA. The construction contractor underwent six OSHA investigations, between October 2021- December 2022, at their five separate locations. These investigations are a part of OSHA’s local emphasis program for fall hazards.
According to OSHA resources, “Falls from elevation are a leading cause of death for construction employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports falls accounted for 351 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2020…”
Violations and Citations:
The inspections of the construction company led to violations on all five of their construction sites. It was disclosed that the company did not provide fall protection on any site. Additionally, the employees were also exposed to damaged or unsafe equipment, such as damaged ladders, electrical hazards, and no personal protective equipment (PPE).
The investigation concluded with the construction company being cited with seven willful violations and eleven safety violations. These citations led to $790K in penalties.
“OSHA inspectors found All Best Contractor Corp.’s foreman on site, and yet he allowed employees to work while knowing that they lacked fall and other safety protections. Such blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of the company’s workers shows a willful recklessness,” said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will make every effort to hold employers accountable when they put workers at increased risk of serious injuries or worse.”
Safety should be a priority for all companies and lives of employees should never be put at risk. With the right fall prevention and protection measures in place, companies in any industry can ensure they will not face the same penalties and can make certain they are putting the lives of their employees first. Working with outsourced safety experts such as Martin Technical can help ensure your company has the necessary fall protection procedures in place.
HENDERSON, TX – Following a fatal injury suffered by an 86-year-old worker, the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA opened an investigation. The worker had fallen from a stack of pallets at W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. The manufacturer has been family-owned and operated since 1943, with its private fleet of commercial transportation equipment.
OSHA Cited the Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources
The federal investigation at this Henderson sawmill and pallet manufacturer found the company exposed workers to hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guarding.
“Sawmill operations can be hazardous work, but it should not be life-threatening,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. “W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. showed a complete disregard for their employees’ well-being. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they neglect their legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citationsand penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Proper Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Employers must train workers in the purpose and function of the energy control program. In addition, workers have to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.
Queens, NY – A federal workplace safety investigation has found a construction contractor failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards. OSHA conducted the investigation following the death of a worker during the demolition of the Brooklyn building last year.
OSHA’s investigators also determined that the contractor failed to train its workers to recognize and avoid fall hazards. This has caused a worker who engaged in demolishing a building at 1045 Flatbush Ave to fall 60 feet.
The Citations and Penalties
OSHA cited Richmond Construction Inc. for nine willful, repeat, and six serious violations of workplace safety standards. As a result, the agency is seeking penalties totaling $374K. The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Provide employees with effective fall protection and fall protection training.
Have a competent person inspect the roof, lifeline systems, and fall arrest harnesses before the employees started work. A competent person has the knowledge to spot hazards and the authority to correct them.
Have a qualified person supervise the design, installation, and use of the horizontal lifeline.
Ensure the lifeline system was capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds.
Ensure employees did not connect their fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings.
Provide eye and ear protection to employees operating jackhammers.
“Richmond Construction Inc. ignored its legal responsibility to protect workers from falls and the result was the loss of a worker’s life. Complying with OSHA standards is not optional. It is required to ensure workers return home unharmed at the end of the day,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in New York City. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Fall Protection Training requirements are OSHA’s Seventh Most Frequently Cited Standard
In conclusion, falls are the number one killer of construction workers. In addition, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) is the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. Learn more on VR curriculums developed by subject matter experts. The VR curriculums are able to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against fall accidents. Furthermore, it provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production.
MONTICELLO, IL – On February 19th, 2021, two workers at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. were clearing a bin of debris when the soybeans inside collapsed, engulfing one employee up to their waste. The subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the grain facility exposed workers to engulfment hazards. The total proposed penalties amounted to $303,510.
The agency cited Topflight for four grain-handling violations. This included a willful citation for failing to lockout or de-energize hazardous equipment before allowing workers to enter the bin. OSHA issued another willful violation for failing to post an attendant outside the bin for emergency response. The agency all issued citations for directing employees to work on top of railcars without fall protection and failing to test oxygen levels within before directing employees to work inside the grain bin.
In OSHA’s press release, OSHA Area director Barry Salerno made a statement regarding the grain facility which exposed workers to engulfment hazards. Salerno stated, “Six in ten grain engulfments result in the death of a worker but, like the incident at Topflight Grain Cooperative, they are entirely avoidable. OSHA works diligently with the grain and feed industry to enhance education and safety, but employers must follow industry-recognized standards to protect their workers.”
According to their website, Topflight Grain Cooperative operates 19 grain-producing facilities. These operate across Illinois and process 40 million bushels of grain annually.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.