OSHA increases enforcement for fall hazards
The Southeast regional offices of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will increase enforcement efforts aimed at reducing an upward trend in construction-related fall fatalities. Falls are one of the four leading causes of employee fatalities in the Southeast.
Beginning Aug. 20, OSHA will be identifying sites throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi that may be exposing workers to fall hazards and conducting unannounced inspections at those sites. Additionally, all other hazards in plain sight will be addressed during the inspections.
"OSHA's goal is to raise awareness about fall hazards and eliminate those conditions that lead to employee deaths," said Cindy Coe, the agency's regional administrator in Atlanta. "Our compliance officers will conduct immediate inspections when they observe employees working from elevation without fall protection."
OSHA has various special emphasis programs that allow inspections to be opened immediately when safety and health hazards are observed at a work site, including a regional program in the Southeast on falls in construction. The programs also include separate outreach, education and training components for employers and employees.
The agency's regional enforcement efforts are part of a national campaign announced in April to address deadly falls in the construction industry. OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are working with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-based organizations, and consulates to provide employers and workers – especially vulnerable, low-literacy workers – with education and training on common-sense fall prevention equipment and strategies that save lives. OSHA also has created a new Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls. Included are fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. A public service announcement with Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis is available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/media/webcast/20120627-osha-falls-campaign.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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