The month of June is National Safety Month, an event focused on bringing awareness to safety concerns in the workplace. Martin Technical, a member of the National Safety Council, wants to recognize National Safety Month and its significance. With such a high fatality rate in 2020 in the United States, with 4,764 fatal work injuries recorded (a 10.7% decrease from 5,333 in 2019), it is important to draw attention to this national topic. While this number is decreasing, National Safety Month is an event tailored around the continuation of the fatal work injury rate.
Top OSHA Safety Concerns
The list of top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA for all industries is released publicly every year to attract attention to safety concerns in the workplace that are often overlooked. With better knowledge and understanding of safety hazards that are often missed, companies can better prepare their workplace.
Additional to their top safety citations OSHA has also released information on their “Fatal Four” leading causes of fatalities in the workplace.
Falls- 36% of workplace fatalities
Struck by Objects- 10% of workplace fatalities
Electrocutions- 9% of workplace fatalities
Caught in Between- 2% of workplace fatalities
How can you address Safety Concerns?
With proper safety training in place the risk of workplace fatalities decreases. All industries should focus on building and maintaining robust training programs for fall protection, lockout tagout, machine guarding, and arc flash, which help to provide education on the fatal four in the workplace. Martin Technical, a leading safety solutions company providing services and implementation solutions, has in-house subject matter experts whose mission is to help companies build their own customized and efficient training programs. Working with industry experts can boost your safety program, build or strengthen safety cultures, and combat the fatal four workplace concerns.
The Importance of National Safety Month
National Safety Month is a national movement with the goal of bringing awareness to safety in the workplace, ensuring every individual makes it home safe after each day, to enjoy the best part of their day. Join the cause and continue to help spread awareness today.
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.
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.
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.
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