Construction falls lead OSHA’s top safety violations for 2017

Kim Slowey
Sep 27, 2017

Dive Brief:

  • Fall protection in the construction industry, specifically, led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s annual list of the most commonly cited workplace safety violations, according to a preliminary ranking reported by the National Safety Council.
  • Four violations on this year’s list are specific to OSHA’s Part 1926 – Safety and Health Regulations for Construction), including inadequate fall protection, lack of guardrails for scaffolding, improper use of ladders and lack of fall-protection training, according to Business and Legal Resources.
  • The list is preliminary and the final version is due out in December, though it is not expected to change in the meantime. The category of Fall Protection – Training Requirements is new to OSHA’s top 10 this year.

Dive Insight:

Fall protection has been of particular concern to OSHA as falls remain the leading cause of accidental death on construction sites. Of the 937 job site deaths reported in 2015, 350 were fall-related.

In an effort to increase job-site safety, OSHA has taken to levying significant fines in the case of certain violations, such as repeat offenses. In August, OSHA fined a Florida roofing contractor more than $1.5 million after repeated fall-protection violations. To reinforce the citation’s severity, the agency also added the company to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, under which it will be subject to extra monitoring and inspections.

Trench safety is another OSHA concern. Last month, the agency fined South Dakota contractor First Dakota Enterprises $95,000 for conditions that led to a non-fatal collapse. The worker, who was covered by debris as a result of the collapse, survived, but OSHA said the company did not provide the proper protection systems and inspections that could have prevented such an incident.

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OSHA fines MA roofer $125K after company ignored fall hazard warnings

By Kim Slowey
August 12, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Massachusetts roofing company Roof King for three willful, one repeat and nine serious violations related to falls and other hazards and fined the company $124,960.
  • According to an agency press release, Roof King’s onsite supervisory personnel ignored an OSHA inspector’s instructions as to how fall hazards could be remedied, and a subsequent inspection revealed that the company continued to put its employees at risk.
  • OSHA said that among other violations, its inspector observed Roof King’s employees working without fall protection at heights of more than 45 feet off the ground, on a lower, sloped roof and on ladders that did not extend at least 3 feet above landings.


Dive Insight:

“Employees should never have to risk their lives for a paycheck,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties, in a press release. He said preventable falls make up approximately 40% of all construction industry deaths and that Roof King must take action to avoid serious employee injuries or death.