Focus on Falls, OSHA Tells Garden State Contractors

Following four falls at northern New Jersey construction sites, the agency issued a "call to action" to every contractor in the state.

Four recent falls at construction sites in northern New Jersey, each with different circumstances, caused OSHA to call on construction contractors to make sure employees working above 6 feet have protective equipment in place to protect them.

OSHA's announcement said it has opened investigations following a worker's fall through a roof into a vat of acid in Clifton, N.J.; a fall from the roof on a residential construction site in Bayonne; a fall during the installation of a steel frame in Madison; and a fourth worker's fall from an aerial lift in Secaucus.

"This is a call to action for every contractor in the state," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "These incidents are tragic reminders of the dangers posed to workers when they are not adequately protected from fall hazards. Whether working on a roof, a scaffold, or in an aerial lift, all workers must have and correctly use the proper equipment to prevent falls."

OSHA's notice pointed out the many protective methods available: "guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems, including properly anchored body harnesses and lanyards, as well as the use of safe work practices and thorough training."

OSHA, NIOSH, and CPWR began a year-long campaign last month aimed at preventing construction falls. More than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working at heights during 2010 and more than 250 workers died in this way during that year, according to the agency.

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