Falls from heights continue to be among the leading causes of serious injuries and deaths of construction workers.
One of the common causes of fall accidents at construction sites is that the workers lack proper training. The employers are not properly training the construction workers on how to protect themselves from fall accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set out standards that employers must comply with in order to prevent fall accidents from a walking or working surface greater than 6 feet above the lower level.
OSHA standards require employers to provide proper training for employees who may be exposed to fall hazards. OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.503(a) provides:
(1) The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
(2) The employer shall assure that each employee has been trained, as necessary, by a competent person qualified in the following areas:
(i) The nature of fall hazards in the work area;
(ii) The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used;
(iii) The use and operation of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones, and other protection to be used;
(iv) The role of each employee in the safety monitoring system when this system is used;
(v) The limitations on the use of mechanical equipment during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs;
(vi) The correct procedures for the handling and storage of equipment and materials and the erection of overhead protection;
(vii) The role of employees in fall protection plans; and
(viii) The standards contained in this subpart.
Therefore, employers not only have to train workers on how to recognize fall hazards and dangers, but also on how to properly use the safety equipment.
OSHA often cites employers for violating fall protection standards. Moreover, employers are also cited for failing to provide workers proper training on fall protection.
Many construction workers are not from the United States and often do not speak English very well. Therefore, workers whose native language is not English may not fully understand what the employer is saying during training sessions.
OSHA provides training material and videos in Spanish, and employers need to fully utilize the resources OSHA offers to ensure the safety of workers.
If you or a loved was seriously injured as a result of falling from a roof, scaffold, ladder or other working surface greater than 6 feet above the lower level, feel free to contact the construction accident lawyers at White and Williams, LLP.
Daniel J. O'Brien has helped many injured workers who fell from heights and provides a free initial, no obligation consultation. 877.944.8396