OSHA’s Renewed Emphasis on Falls in the Construction Industry
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Regional Emphasis Programs are strategies that focus on mitigating hazards that pose a particular risk to industries within a given region. The United States is broken up into 10 regions. Region 4 includes Florida as well as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. While these programs address several different industries, we will be focusing on the one that is most relevant to the Florida construction industry: falls in construction. For any questions regarding fall prevention and OSHA compliance, consult a Florida OSHA lawyer.
Preventing Falls in Construction
Fall protection remains the most commonly cited OSHA violation. In Region 4, the Fall Regional Emphasis Program resulted in 2,343 inspections, 1,653 fall protection violations, and 893 scaffolding violations. Considering its current construction boom, Florida is a major contributor to these violations.
Program outreach is intended to inform employers on how to reduce or eliminate the hazards that are uniquely affecting their region. Outreach can be in the form of “informational mailings, training at local tradeshows, or speeches at meetings or labor organizations.” You may have already heard of OSHA’s emphasis on fall protection. However, this emphasis doesn’t apply to outreach alone.
An Emphasis on Inspections
The Fall Regional Emphasis Program also focuses on inspections and interventions. As stated in the OSHA Regional Notice, inspectors will be traveling and on the lookout for construction workers who are working at elevations that may be considered hazardous. In the event that an inspector sees such a worker, they will attempt to obtain authorization from the area office to begin the inspection/intervention, which is normally granted. However, the inspector can begin a limited inspection/intervention if the area office cannot be contacted.
Making Fall Protection a Priority
With OSHA’s renewed focus on falls, construction companies must also make fall protection a priority. You can do this by implementing a fall protection plan that consists of proper training, rescue plans, fall arrest systems, and fall hazard identification. In addition to remaining OSHA compliant, you must always be prepared in the event that an inspector makes an unannounced visit to your jobsite. To ensure that you are doing everything you can to remain OSHA compliant and keep your workforce safe, consult a Florida OSHA lawyer.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.