NEW YORK — Following four recent construction incidents that took place in Northern New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling on construction companies to ensure that employees working above 6 feet have the proper equipment to protect themselves from falls on the job.
OSHA has opened investigations following a worker fall through a roof into a vat of acid in Clifton, a worker fall from the roof on a residential construction site in Bayonne, a worker fall while installing a steel frame in Madison, and a worker fall from an aerial lift in Secaucus.
“This is a call to action for every contractor in the state,” says Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York. “These incidents are tragic reminders of the dangers posed to workers when they are not adequately protected from fall hazards.”
There are a number of ways to protect workers from falls, including guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems, including properly anchored body harnesses and lanyards, as well as the use of safe work practices and thorough training. “Whether working on a roof, a scaffold or in an aerial lift, all workers must have and correctly use the proper equipment to prevent falls,” Kulick adds.
In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a new campaign to provide employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed. OSHA’s fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program. More detailed information is available in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.
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 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).