OSHA Providing New Assistance on Workplace Falls

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a recent news release, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry. With that in mind, the agency is now making available a collection of what it calls "compliance assistance resources," designed to help employers address falls in the workplace.

"OSHA's goal is to promote awareness about common fall hazards in construction, education job creators and workers on fall prevention, and reduce the number of fall-related injuries and fatalities," OSHA states in the release.

The resources are designed to continue the goals of the Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), which is housed in the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy. The OCI is set up to foster what OSHA calls a "compliance assistance culture" within the DOL, designed to complement its ongoing enforcement efforts.

According to OSHA, falls can be prevented if employers plan ahead to ensure jobs are done safely, provide the proper equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely.

As part of its new effort, OSHA is working with industry stakeholders to provide these new compliance assistance resources, which consist of five outreaches:

  1. The sixth annual "National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction," which will be held May 6–10, 2019. This weeklong outreach event is designed to encourage employers and workers to pause during the workday to discuss fall hazards and how to prevent them.
  2. A series of fall safety videos that demonstrate how to prevent construction-related fall hazards from floor openings, skylights, fixed scaffolds, bridge decking, reroofing, and leading-edge work.
  3. OSHA's Fall Prevention Training Guide, which provides a lesson plan for employers, including several Toolbox Talks.
  4. A number of fact sheets on ladders and scaffolding, which provide guidance on the safe use of these types of equipment while performing construction activities.
  5. A video, "5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls," which encourages employers to develop a fall prevention plan, as well as to provide workers with fall protection training.

Beyond that, OSHA notes that its On-Site Consultation Program can provide valuable services for employers that are separate from enforcement, including specialized assistance with fall prevention.

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