Following an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a Wolcott, Connecticut contractor has been cited for multiple safety violations. When inspectors drove by a work site at 55 Rodgers Lane on May 4, 2016, they observed workers on the property’s roof, without proper fall protection gear. Although they were wearing safety harnesses, the harnesses were not connected to any type of anchor. The inspectors instructed the foreman to remedy the issue, and the workers immediately anchored their harnesses.
During a follow up visit two days later, and another on May 12, inspectors again found workers atop a roof with unanchored safety harnesses. An unanchored harness can actually be more dangerous than no harness at all; it provides a false sense of protection. “This employer exposed its employees deliberately to potentially deadly or disabling falls on multiple occasions, and has a history of fall-related violations at job sites in Connecticut. This is unacceptable,” said Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s local director. “Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. That won’t change unless employers take seriously their responsibility to provide safe working conditions for their employees.”
OSHA cited M&M Roofing for multiple violations, including:
- A willful violation for inadequate fall protection.
- Failure to properly train employees on fall hazards.
- Improper ladders for the job; for purposes of stability, ladders must extend a minimum of three feet above the next level. The contractor’s ladders did not.
- Open, unguarded holes in the roof. In 2013 and 2014, OSHA cited M&M Roofing for similar violations at Manchester and Watertown work sites.
- Failure to provide adequate ladder safety training for workers.
- Failure to provide adequate eye and face protection for certain workers, specifically those who use pneumatic nail guns and a leaf blower.
For the above violations, OSHA proposed fines totalling $185,194.
Falls – Number One Cause of Construction-Related Fatalities
Of the 899 construction-related fatalities in 2014, 345 were due to falls. In every one of these cases, the death was preventable. OSHA’s “Fall Prevention Campaign” is a great resource for how to prevent serious injuries and deaths due to falls. The campaign includes three main points:
- Plan ahead: Before the start of any project, employers must determine how the job will be accomplished, what tasks will be involved, and what safety gear and equipment is needed for each task. Cost estimates should include safety equipment.
- Provide appropriate gear and equipment: Every job requires different equipment. For example, ladders must extend at least three feet about the next level. Some jobs require scaffolds, some do not. Rooftop workers should use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), but it’s equally important to make sure the harness fits, is in good working order, and is always anchored.
- Train workers on safe use of equipment: The best safety equipment in the world is useless if the user doesn’t know how it works. Workers should be trained in proper set up and use of all equipment, including ladders and scaffolds, and fall protection systems.
If you are concerned about unsafe working conditions at your place of employment, you can contact OSHA on their toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, contact a MA work injury lawyer today.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Work Injury Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts
If you have been injured on-the-job, the skilled work injury team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Work-related injuries are generally covered by workers’ compensation benefits, but the application process can be complicated, and errors can result in delayed or reduced benefits. A skilled workers’ comp attorney will help you get the benefits you deserve in a timely manner. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.