The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was enacted “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act.” With the Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) was established as part of the United States Department of Labor.
OSHA established standards to protect workers against falls on the jobsite.
FALL PROTECTION (29 CFR 1926.501)
Fall Protection has been OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the 10th straight fiscal year with over 5,000 violations cited in 2020 alone.
To eliminate the danger of falling, tools with an extension capability should be used whenever possible. However, when workers cannot avoid working from heights (defined as six feet or more for the construction industry) OSHA has safety requirements put in place to protect workers from predictable dangers.
OSHA requires that employers:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
Failure to comply with fall protection standards may result in workers falling into a hole, falling off elevated platforms, or falling into or onto dangerous work equipment… Workers who fall on jobsites predictably suffer severe bodily injuries or even death
To protect against incidents such as these, employers must:
- Guard every floor hole using a railing and toe-board.
- Provide guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open-sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, provide guardrails and toe-boards if a worker could fall into or onto dangerous equipment.
- Provide safety equipment such as harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails.
When employers ignore OSHA’s safety standards, it is predictable that workers will suffer serious injury or death. When workers suffer injuries on the jobsite, those people in charge of safety at the jobsite may be responsible for the consequences of failing to protect workers from these foreseeable dangers.
If you have questions/concerns regarding unsafe conditions at the jobsite that result in falls, you should consult a lawyer experienced in handling construction site injury cases. For questions, please contact one of the experienced lawyers at DILLER LAW, PC.