The leading cause of death in the construction industry is falling, which is said to account for almost 40 percent of fatalities in workplace accidents. While construction company owners are aware of this fact, it is incomprehensible that the failure to provide fall protection is a safety violation committed by so many of them. In July, employees of a contracting construction company were found to be working unprotected, 60-feet high on a steel structure in Ohio.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an inspection of the company and its compliance with safety regulations and proposed $37,413 in penalties. The investigation followed a report made to the agency about unsafe work conditions at the construction site. Inspectors found workers walking on steel beams and others in the buckets of lift trucks — all without any fall protection. Prescribed standards require all employees at heights of 6 feet or more above the next lower layer to be issued with appropriate fall protection, and the proper use of it must be monitored.
Along with the lack of fall protection, OSHA investigators determined that loads on the lift baskets and booms exceeded weight limits. The company also failed to provide the work crew with a qualified rigger, and the operators of the aerial lift equipment lacked proper training. The combination of these violations will provide all the ingredients necessary for a recipe of catastrophic workplace accidents.
Any worker who falls from a height of 60 feet without fall protection will have little chance of survival. The fact that one safety violation can cause an Ohio family the trauma of losing a loved one is unacceptable. While nothing can be done to undo such a tragedy when one occurs, surviving family members are entitled to pursue workers’ compensation claims for benefits to ease the financial burden. Along with coverage of end-of-life expenses, a wage-replacement package to assist with daily living expenses will be provided for a predetermined period.
Source: workerscompensation.com, “Temporary Workers Rigging Steel at Risk of 6-Story Falls as Employers Failed to Provide Fall Protection, Training“, Oct. 20, 2016