Florida Readies for No-Notice OSHA 'Swept Up' Week

OSHA will conduct a no-notice "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaign in August to curb construction-related fatalities in northern Florida. The agency says that in the past, such unannounced safety weeks have been successful in reducing construction-related fatalities in targeted areas of the Southeast. OSHA compliance officers will focus their enforcement efforts on construction sites in the area that reaches from Daytona Beach to Pensacola, Fla.

The agency says that such field activities are designed to identify and eliminate safety and health hazards at construction sites, thereby reducing the numbers of injuries and fatalities resulting from the four leading causes of accidents: falls, struck-by/crushing events, electrocutions, and caught-in-between events. During previous "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaign periods, agency compliance officers conducted immediate inspections when unsafe working conditions were observed at construction sites, OSHA says. Compliance officers also entered worksites to provide outreach and training and to encourage employers to continue their good work when it was observed.

"One of OSHA's goals this year is to continue increasing employers' awareness about eliminating hazards that lead to employee fatalities," says James Borders, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "The increased presence of our field compliance officers and the immediate inspections they conduct after observing unsafe scaffolds, fall risks, trenches and other construction hazards will lead to a reduction in worksite fatalities."

The agency says that its fiscal year 2007 "Swept Up in Safety Week" campaigns helped to reduce fatalities at construction sites overseen by federal OSHA offices in the southeastern United States by 10.4 percent compared to fiscal year 2006. During the four designated safety weeks in fiscal year 2007, OSHA conducted 2,086 compliance inspections throughout the Southeast, while conducting 1,294 onsite interventions where no inspection was performed.

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