OSHA Fall Protection enforcement is well underway throughout Massachusetts, New England and the country. In the past few weeks we have been receiving daily announcements from OSHA about fines for fall protection violations.
Most contractors know that OSHA has rescinded the old fall protection interim standard in December of 2010. There have been a few extensions on full compliance that will end in September of 2012, next month. At that time this is what will be required for any contractor working at heights 6 feet above a lower level;
- Contractors must use fall arrest systems, guard rails and or safety nets to protect their workers.
- Contractors must train their workers on the standard and how to use the equipment.
- Contractors must document their training.
- Contractors must have a written safety plan.
- Contractors must use a site specific plan if they do not use conventional fall protection in SubPart M.
In conversations with several contractors over the past few months I was asked why we haven't seen more evidence of enforcement and fines through the media. As silly as this sounds, some contractors have said when they see the fines mounting then they will start to consider complying.
Well on 8/6/2012 OSHA announced that they have fined 10 contractors working in New Hampshire for a total of $173,000. The date of the site visit was in January. It takes several months for OSHA to finalize citations and ejudicate the violators. With that said many of the contractors who were caught not following the rules this spring will be showing up as OSHA announcements very shortly.
After reading the OSHA citation you will notice that the General Contractor was included in the fines. General Contractors can be fined under the OSHA Multiple Employer Fine Procedure. General Contractors need to make sure that anyone who works on their sites that they are compliant with OSHA standards or the GC can be fined. For example; a GC who hires a painter or roofer who is not using fall protection, not only will the sub trade be fined, the General can also be cited. OSHA says employers (General Contractors on the job or prime contractor) must provide a safe work place for all workers. This includes employees and subs.
To avoid having a bad day or face fines for not following the OSHA Fall Protection directive now is a good time to start implementing the standards.
We provide open enrollment and private group training for contractors and sub-trades in the construction industry. We also provide training by partnering with lumberyards and trade associations. Contact Mark for more information.