The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into a fatal fall that occurred at a construction project in Houston, Texas. On January 26, 2022, a worker fell through a skylight, falling 30 feet.
- 29 CFR 1926.503(a)(1):The employer did not provide a training program for each employee potentially exposed to fall hazards to enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
- 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(4)(i): Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.
- 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(10): Each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet or more above lower levels, was not protected from “falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, or warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system.
OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $223,341.00.
OSHA has previously issued guidance for employers, in how to prevent falls from occurring on the jobsite. OSHA recommends:
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
When working from heights, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
PROVIDE the right equipment
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Use the right ladder or scaffold to get the job done safely. For roof work, if workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect it for safe use.
TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely
Every worker should be trained on proper set-up and safe use of equipment they use on the job. Employers must train workers in recognizing hazards on the job.
Workers face risks and hazards that must be planned for before work begins. It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers. It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies. Of course, adequate training of workers is also required. Here, the construction company has been cited on multiple occasions by OSHA.
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