Falls Must Stop, MIOSHA Tell 8,000 Employers

Stung by three fatal falls in the state this year, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as MIOSHA, began a campaign this week to alert general industry and construction employers that they must provide appropriate protections and training for employees exposed to fall hazards. The agency is sending letters, "MIOSHA Fatal Facts -- Falls That Kill," and a resource list to about 8,000 employers whose employees may be exposed.

"This year in Michigan, we've already had three fatal accidents caused by falls. When fall hazards are present, employers must provide the appropriate fall protection," said Keith W. Cooley, director of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, which includes MIOSHA. "Our goal is that every worker in Michigan goes home healthy and whole, every day. We are launching this outreach initiative to alert employers that the falls must stop."

MIOSHA's March 10 announcement said falls accounted for 47 (21 percent) of the more than 200 workplace fatalities its personnel investigated during the past five years. In construction, falls represented 37 percent of investigated deaths. "Because of the high rate of injuries and fatalities related to fall hazards, reducing these hazards is a priority of the MIOSHA program," said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "Incidents caused by falls can be anticipated and prevented. MIOSHA rules for both construction and general industry employers require that they address the variety of fall hazards in their workplace. We are encouraging employers to use all available resources, including MIOSHA outreach services, to provide required employee training."

The MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training Division will be scheduling a series of workshops on fall awareness training. (Visit www.michigan.gov/miosha for a schedule.)

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