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OSHA continues emphasis on fall protection standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is continuing to place an emphasis on its fall protection regulations and cracking down on employers who violate the standard.

An Ohio roofing company was recently cited $116,900 in proposed fines by the federal agency after a worker died following a 40-foot fall. The employer had failed to provide guardrails, safety nets or personal fall prevention devices, according to the OSHA. Additionally, workers had not been properly trained about fall hazards and the job site did not have a designated safety monitor. The employer had also failed to develop a safety and health program, kept no records of injuries and illness and had not properly trained workers to operate powered industrial vehicles. The roofing company received one willful, 11 serious and three other-than-serious safety citations.

"Fall protection has been OSHA's most frequent citation for five years in a row."

"Four of 10 fatalities in the construction industry in 2014 were the result of a deadly fall," Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati, said in a statement. "Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers and can be prevented with proper fall protection. Yet another worker has died needlessly because his employer failed to protect his safety. This has to stop."

Additionally, a Chicago-area roofing contractor was issued proposed penalties totaling $115,500 after inspectors found workers on two job sites were not equipped with fall protection. These inspections were conducted as part of the agency's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign.

As The National Law Review reported, OSHA is making other moves to crack down on fall protection violations, including bringing states in compliance with federal standards. California, which does not have specific fall protection regulations for residential construction, was ordered to create a standard in line with OSHA's regulations.

The fall protection standard was OSHA's most frequent citation in 2015, for the fifth straight year in a row. As Insurance Journal reported, falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers and accounted for nearly 40 percent of all construction fatalities in 2014. 

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