For workers in many occupations, falls are an omnipresent threat. Any workplace that has stairs, ladders, gangways, scaffolding or any elevated platform, there is always a risk that a worker could fall.
For employees on construction sites, whether large multi-story structures or individual family homes, there are many tasks that must be carried out during the construction and finishing that place workers at risk for a fall.
Falls remain one of the leading causes of death and injury among U.S. workers, and according to government statistics from 2014, are the cause 40 percent of deadly workplace incidents.
Those involved in stick construction, masonry work, painting or glazing can all face this risk, as can electricians wiring or installing fixtures at height. However, few occupations or trades face as constant a risk as roofers, who by nature of their job are usually working above the height that OSHA sets as the threshold for fall protection.
And few occupations see more violations of those standards. OSHA identified a “serial offender” in Wisconsin after their 13th inspection in 10 years uncovered a new set of violations, including those the safety agency classifies as “willful” and “serious.” A roofing job site failed to have “guardrails, safety nets or personal fall prevention devices” according to the inspection.
OSHA has been engaged an aggressive campaign to reduce these fatalities, but as this case demonstrates, for some companies, a culture of violation can be difficult to break. As a worker, you can help by reporting any violations committed by your employer or other contractors on a site.
You don’t have to wait until someone is hurt or a fatal fall occurs from this kind of willful negligence.
Source: workerscompensaton.com, “A Serial OSHA Offender, Wisconsin Contractor Continues to Risk Workers’ Safety,” March 16, 2016