In November of 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the owners of Elo Restoration Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida for more than $116,000 in fines for repeated fall safety violations. The owner of the roofing company failed to ensure his workers or use fall protection systems on residential roofs after previous citations for similar violations in May 2018. This is one example of OSHA taking action against a negligent employer, and employees in the construction industry in particular face a higher than average risk of falls at work.
OSHA requires all employers to furnish their employees with workplaces free of unreasonable hazards. Construction work is inherently dangerous, so employers must be especially cautious. All employers in the construction industry must take adequate steps to plan safety protocols, provide adequate safety equipment and tools for employees, and train workers on proper workplace safety and fall prevention.
The construction industry requires working on unfinished structures that inherently pose fall risks. Different buildings have different safety concerns, and employers must carefully consider a job site’s unique fall risks to develop strong safety protocols before work begins. Several specific fall risks require individualized attention from employers in the construction industry.
This is not an exhaustive list of every specific fall risk in the construction industry, and conventional fall safety plans are not always appropriate in every construction worksite. Some employers may need to develop site-specific fall protection plans.
OSHA handles employee complaints related to safety concerns and inspects millions of workplaces all over the country each year. OSHA violations typically incur severe penalties to encourage noncompliant employers to immediately rectify unsafe working conditions to prevent injuries to workers. Falls represent the greatest risk of fatal injury in the construction industry, and every construction industry employer has a legal duty to minimize this risk on every worksite.
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