Fall Protection enforcement continues to be one of OSHA Region 1's top focus priority. The OSHA Fall Hazard LEP will be in effect until September of 2015. Region 1 includes New England states; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. Data Statistics from OSHA's website show numerous citations for fall protection violations in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Contractors in Mass, Connecticut, NH and RI can expect a continuation of the enforcement activity seen in the past two years.
Fall Related Fines and Deaths in The News
OSHA Local Emphasis Program (LEP) on Fall Protection in Region 1 Effective Until September 2015.
What is an OSHA Emphasis Program?
OSHA issues special directives called Emphasis Programs to target industries that have high rates of injuries and deaths. The residential construction industry has an unusually high injury and death rate from falls. There is a National Emphasis Program for fall protection. In addition in areas with higher than national incident rates like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine OSHA issues Local Emphasis Programs. The Region 1 LEP will be in effect until September of 2015. This targeted approach usually remains in effect until there is statistical evidence that incident rates are lowered. Fall Hazard LEP's in several other regions expired in September of 2012. OSHA enforcement priority in New England states will be focused front and center on fall protection compliance.
Most residential contractors have little knowledge of NEP's of LEP's. When I teach Fall Protection to residential contractors it is often the first time they have ever heard of Emphasis Programs.
Here is a banner on the OSHA website home page. It is an indication of what they are focusing on. In addition the fall protection directive from December, 2010 that was extended several times ends in March, 2013.
OSHA CSHO's Instructed To Stop At Residential Job Sites
Here is an excerpt from the Region 1 Local Emphasis Program on Fall Hazards given to OSHA Inspectors. It describes what the OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) must do during their inspection route.
OSHA Region 1 LEP Fall Hazard Program Procedures:
A. Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) shall, while traveling during the course of their work-day, be watchful for employees, working at elevations greater than ten feet above the lower level, and who appear to be unprotected from the hazard of falling to the lower level. Compliance officers seeing such exposures shall attempt to contact the area office either to obtain supervisory authorization to begin an immediate inspection; or, in cases where the CSHO is unable to begin an immediate inspection, to notify the area office of the CSHO’s observations. Supervisory approval to start the inspection will normally be granted to the CSHO provided that this inspection activity does not conflict with higher priority inspection activity, and provided that the CSHO has the necessary expertise and equipment to conduct the inspection.
B. If the CSHO has no readily available means to contact the area office, or is otherwise unable to reach area office personnel who can authorize the inspection, the CSHO will begin an immediate limited scope inspection provided this activity will not interfere with higher priority inspections or assignments. In these cases, the CSHO will give highest priority to preventing further employee exposure to the fall hazards observed.
Read the OSHA CPL 04-00-002B LEP: http://www.osha.gov/dep/leps/leps.html
Contractors in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine will be under this LEP until September of 2015. The OSHA outreach period we saw in 2010-2012 saw a lot of contractors receive warnings and citations.
OSHA CSHO's are under direct orders to stop and observe job sites and if they see evidence of no fall protection they must follow the instruction in the LEP as described above. First they will observe, then they will call for permission, with permission granted they will conduct an OSHA Site Audit. If they call the OSHA director and cannot get through they are instructed to begin an audit anyways.
Here are some tips on how to prevent an OSHA site audit when a CSHO rides by your job site
Learn the standards Subpart M, X, and L.
Train and certify your employees.
Make sure your employees use the fall protection equipment you provide for them when up 6 feet above lower levels.
Write a fall protection plan and train the entire crew on it and have them sign it.
Learn the top 10 most cited OSHA violations and make sure you do not present for any of them on your job sites.
DO NOT ALLOW your sub contractors to work on your site unless they are in compliance with the fall protection directive. If your subs get caught working unsafe you can be cited and fined along with them.
Make unannounced site visits to your jobs and observe your crew and subs.
To learn more on how you can get up to speed on the OSHA Fall Protection Directive go to our Fall Protection Training Page. Trainings are scheduled regularly. We provide both open enrollment trainings and we partner with Lumberyards, Trade Organizations and provide training privately for companies.