Reminder: OSHA’s New Reporting Requirements Begin in Jan.

Rules cover fatalities, severe injuries

OSHA has promulgated new reporting requirements that will take effect in January 2015. Previously, employers were required to report all work related fatalities and work related hospitalizations of three or more employees. Beginning next month, in addition to all fatalities, employers must now, report work-related hospitalizations of one or more employees, all work related amputations, and all work related losses of an eye.



The ROI of Workplace Safety

Accident claim follow-on costs can far exceed upfront costs

Studies by insurance carriers say investment in proactive workplace safety processes can yield a return on investment of approximately $6.15 to every $1 spent, according to Greg Andress, ARM, safety and loss control manager at Frank Winston Crum Insurance, the affiliated carrier for FrankCrum, a national professional employer organization.

“Workplace safety is a huge issue, both in terms of worker safety and cost to employers. In fact, the cost of occupational injuries and illnesses was estimated at nearly $250 billion annually in a recent U.C. Davis study,” says Andress.  “For its most recent reporting period of 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said that approximately 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012, in addition to nearly 793,000 cases for state and local government workers.”

With these incidence rates in mind, Andress notes that the actual cost of accident claims may be surprising to most employers. He says the tip of the iceberg are the upfront costs, such as the workers’ compensation premium, deductible, and fees; but the follow-on costs associated with the claims can be an additional four to eight times the direct upfront costs.

Typical indirect costs include lost production by the worker, coworkers, and supervisors; interruption of operations following an accident; cost of training another worker to backfill the position temporarily; disruption of the team; overtime costs; damage to equipment and/or facility, and potential legal costs and/or penalties.

“If the claim cost was $1,000 and the indirect costs were a conservative four times that, the total cost would be $5,000,” says Andress.  “Using a 10% profit margin, the business would need to create $50,000 in new revenue to cover the claim. That’s the sort of dollars and cents equation that business owners need to consider.”

A Proactive Approach

Recognizing the high cost of injury claims, Andress says there are several ways business owners can approach the development of a workplace safety program and encourages them to build a process that reflects their culture, workplace, and industry.

“When developing or improving a safety program, one thought is to measure the processes the business is using to prevent injuries rather than measuring outcomes, such as claim costs or lost workdays,” he says.  “These preventive functions, called leading indicators, are measurable factors that reveal a weakness in advance and provide insight into the future value of performance, as opposed to using lagging indicators that identify past events.”

Examples of leading indicators include the following:

  • New employee orientations and training courses completed; toolbox talks and safety meetings held
  • New or enhanced safety controls implemented
  • Near-misses identified
  • Hazardous conditions reported by employees
  • Results of personal protective equipment assessments
  • Results of observations and accident investigation results

“Adopting a proactive approach using leading indicators provides a better platform for an enhanced workplace safety program,” concludes Andress.  “After reviewing the cost data as well as the toll in employee injuries, employers should take a careful look at implementing this type of system and should seek guidance in establishing a program that is geared toward their specific needs.”

Idiots and Jerks: The Other Guy’s Driving

You, your employees, and dangers of the road

By Brandon Dufour
Owner, All-Star Driver 

I find myself often referencing an old George Carlin skit about sharing the roads with others. The censored, paraphrased version of the joke basically says “Everyone driving faster than me is an idiot, everyone driving slower than me is a jerk.”

For reasons that you may never truly understand, your psyche changes the second that you put your car in drive. As you buckle yourself into the driver seat, you morph into a Hollywood super hero who even the most intimidating of villains would avoid confrontation with. You are invincible to all that oppose you, let alone try to pass you. The left lane is no match for your Batmobile at any speed, whether you are passing at will, or preventing others from doing the same. Defensive, or offensive, you are the best driver that I-95 has ever encountered. When you sit at your desk, you squint to read text messages on your phone, and take minutes to punch away at the touch screen. But in your car, your amazing eyesight tops Superman’s x-ray vision, and your ability to type is better than your 14 year old daughter’s.

Then reality sets in. The reality is that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death and injury in people ages 16 to 45. Let that sink in for a moment. You are more likely to die in your car than you are to die from cancer and heart disease, combined. The number one cause of traffic accidents is user error. That statistic can’t be debated. It is an incontestable fact that you aren’t as safe in your vehicle as your super-hero mindset thinks you are.

Now, if you are a business owner or manager, these statistics get even scarier. Did you know that as an employer you are responsible for your employees’ actions on the road, even if they are in their personal car? And if you are a nonprofit organization, volunteers participating in events are treated the same as employees when it comes to the Department of Labor. Remember that Latin class you took in high school? If two words resound in your memory they should be: “respondeat superior”: an employee that is acting in the course of their employment is under the risk umbrella of their employer. Let me illustrate with a couple of examples:

  1. You have an assistant; we’ll call her “Lisa.” Lisa is an hourly employee. She is on her way to lunch so she clocks out. On her way out the door, you ask Lisa to drop the bank deposit off and pick up some office supplies on the way back. Lisa gets in her personal car, starts driving, and is checking her personal e-mail on her phone. She gets in an accident, injuring another person. That person hires a personal injury attorney who determines that Lisa was acting in the course of her employment and asks you for your policies on distracted driving. Don’t have them? Now, said attorney sees dollar signs. He is no longer going after Lisa’s insurance alone because the employer is liable as well.
  2. You have a salesman that gets paid solely on commission; we’ll call him “Stan.” Stan routinely takes clients out to dinner. While at a client dinner, Stan drinks a bottle of wine. On his way home from the dinner, he crashes and injures another driver. The other driver hires an attorney who determines that Stan was working when the accident happened. He calls you and asks for your policies on consuming alcohol on company time and on drinking and driving. Don’t have them? Dollar signs. Your dollar signs. Or soon to be formerly yours.

From many years of training drivers of all ages, we have learned that the biggest offenders on our roadways are not actually new drivers, but rather experienced drivers, especially those acting in the course of their work. As a fellow business owner, I am concerned with two main business points: increasing revenue and increasing profit. However, risk is always in the back of my mind, and if not properly managed, it can disrupt revenue, even wipe out profits. If you have employees, you have risk. While we can’t prevent risk, we can control it.

Take a hard look at your employee handbook and think about safe driving:

  • Do you have clear, non-discretionary policies on safe driving?
  • Are you training your employees on your expectations of them behind the wheel specific to these policies?
  • If an employee violates the policies, are you enforcing them?

If you are, an accident on company time may be shown to be an employee acting out of turn, which you may be able to claim is not your company’s responsibility. If you have no such policies or are not consistently enforcing existing policies, and an attorney can prove that you were benefiting from the employee texting and driving or drinking and driving, or breaking state and local traffic laws, you will not only be considered liable, you will be considered negligent.

Negligent is an expensive word.

I know that driving seems simple. I recognize that we all do it every day. Today, I ask you to realize that it is also the greatest cause of death in the world. Do your part, and help us change this statistic. Work with your employees and show them that you take safety, especially safe driving, seriously. One very small step can start a resolution.

I have one request of you: When you walk into your company tomorrow, immediately ban cell phone use while driving on company time. Park your phone, drive your car, and ensure that your company is part of the solution and not a news headline that’s part of the problem.

Brandon Dufour is the owner of All-Star Driver—Connecticut’s leader in driver’s education—a family owned-and-operated driving school headquartered in Watertown. All-Star Driver’s roots are in the student transportation business, but extended into new driver training in February of 2009. With over 40 years experience in the traffic safety business, the transition into new driver training made perfect sense. All-Star Driver now holds class in 70+ locations throughout Connecticut. Visit online at

OSHA Extends Deadline on Construction Crane Rules

Decision centers on certification requirements

OSHA has issued a final rule extending the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule published Aug. 9, 2010, by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The rule also extends by three years the employer’s responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 9, 2014.

During the three-year period, OSHA will address operator qualification requirements for the cranes standards including the role of operator certification. The final cranes and derricks rule required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After publishing the final rule, a number of parties raised concerns about the standard’s requirement to certify operators by type and capacity of crane and questioned whether crane operator certification was sufficient for determining whether an operator could operate their equipment safely on a construction site.

The agency published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Feb. 12, 2014, proposing to extend both the deadline for operator certification and the employer duty to ensure competent crane operation for three years. After publishing the proposed rule, a hearing was requested and held in Washington, D.C.

Comments from the hearing are available here. OSHA analyzed the comments on the NPRM and the hearing testimony and decided to extend both the crane operator certification deadline and the existing employer duty for three years. OSHA has already begun the process of developing a standard to ensure crane operator qualifications.

Ten Jobs Americans Fear Most

Health, safety issues reason for many fears

When it comes to what some of America’s workers fear most, looking death in the face has nothing on public speaking, exposure to germs or enthusiastic teens. Just in time for Halloween, a fun, new CareerBuilder study shows the idea of being a stand-up comedian, kindergarten teacher, or even a parent is just as chill-inducing to some people as being a stunt person, crime scene investigator, or mortician.

The nationwide survey, commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted by Harris Poll between Aug. 11 and Sept. 5, 2014, included 3,103 workers across industries.

Asked to choose from a list of the jobs they found the most frightful (or submit their own), workers provided the following answers—with some surprising results. Based on their selections, CareerBuilder pulled employment data for each occupation from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) to show how many brave souls have taken on these roles and what they’re being paid.

Ten Jobs That Strike Fear in American Workers’ Hearts

1. Politician: There are 56,857 politicians/legislators in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $9.89

Average salary for U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives in 2014: $174,000

Scary for those who fear: Responsibility; accountability to a large number of people; rejection.

2. Microbiologist for infectious diseases: In general, there are 20,800 microbiologists in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $32.61

Scary for those who fear: Germs; Ebola; accidentally leaving the hazmat suit at home.

3. Security guard at teen pop idol concert: In general, there are 1,163,023 security guards in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $11.62

Scary for those who fear: Getting trampled by screaming tweens.

4. Kindergarten teacher: There are 158,084 kindergarten teachers (non-special-education) in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $24.12

Scary for those who fear: Germs; temper tantrums; shaping the minds of America’s youth.

5. Crime scene investigator: There are 128,432 detectives and criminal investigators and forensic science technicians in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $35.75

Scary for those who fear: Blood; the disappointment on people’s faces when you tell them the job is nothing like it is on TV.

6. Animal trainer: There are 32,360 animal trainer jobs in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $12.03

Scary for those who fear: Animal attacks; allergy flare-ups.

7. Mortician: There are 27,505 mortician, undertaker and funeral director jobs in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $22.83

Scary for those who fear: Dead bodies; silence; zombie attacks.

8. Radio, cellular and tower equipment installers and repairers: There are 16,213 radio, cellular and tower equipment installer and repairer jobs in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $21.59

Scary for those who fear: Heights.

9. Stand-up comedian: There are 37,272 jobs in the entertainers and performers, sports, and related workers industry, which include comedians, in the U.S.

Median hourly pay: $16.89

Scary for those who fear: Public speaking; awkward silence.

10. Parent: There are too many parent jobs in the U.S. to count.

Median hourly pay: Not nearly enough.

Scary for those who fear: Almost all of the above fears.

Check out a video of the world’s scariest job interview.


Connecticut Firm Cited After Employee Amputation

Three other companies also face OSHA fines

Newington Manufacturer Cited by OSHA for Multiple Hazards After Employee Amputation

West Hartford Stairs and Cabinets has been cited by OSHA for 16 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its 17 Main St. manufacturing plant in Newington. This follows inspections conducted by OSHA’s Hartford Area Office in response to an April 14, 2014, incident in which an employee lost parts of two fingers in an inadequately guarded machine. The manufacturer of stairs and cabinets faces $60,200 in fines.

“This is exactly the type of serious injury that proper guarding of a machine’s operating parts would have prevented,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Equally disturbing were the fire, chemical and electrical hazards identified during our inspections. It’s imperative that this employer take prompt and effective corrective action to eliminate these hazards and prevent their recurrence.”

In addition to the machine guarding hazards, OSHA found that employees were exposed to fire hazards from a dust collection system that lacked a spark detector to prevent hot metal from entering the dust collector and igniting an explosion. Other fire hazards included improper disposal of flammable rags; accumulations of flammable chemicals on spray booth walls and combustible dust in electrical outlets; and failure to have at least two emergency exits from the spraying room where flammable liquids were used. Additional safety hazards included employees’ exposure to falls from an unguarded second-story work platform and eye injuries from using inadequate safety glasses.

The company failed to conduct hazard assessments for proper protective clothing and ensure employees wore protective gloves when working with hazardous chemicals; have an emergency eyewash station; train employees in the physical and health hazards of hazardous chemicals; provide adequate hazard communication training and a hearing threshold exam for an employee exposed to high noise levels; and train employees about noise hazards and health hazards of methylene chloride.

Employees Exposed to Potentially Fatal Fall Hazards at Bridgeport Work Site

New Haven roofing contractor employees were exposed to potentially fatal falls at a Bridgeport work site due to their employer’s deliberate failure to supply required fall protection.

OSHA’s Bridgeport Area Office found employees of Xtreme Restoration & Waterproofing LLC working without fall protection atop a two-story roof at a residential work site at 1040-1044 Stratford Ave. on June 16, 2014.

“Some workers lacked any fall protection, while others had safety harnesses that were not tied off to an independent anchorage point. This meant there was nothing to stop these workers from falling and suffering a deadly or disabling injury,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport. “These hazards were intensified by allowing workers to use a ladder with broken and damaged rungs to access the roof and by failing to train employees to recognize and protect themselves against these hazards.”

OSHA cited Xtreme Restoration & Waterproofing for a willful violation for lack of fall protection. The company received a repeat violation for lack of fall protection training, which OSHA had cited the company for in 2011 at a Branford job site.

Two serious violations were cited for using a ladder with damaged and broken rungs to access the roof and for not training employees on ladder hazards and safeguards. The company faces $70,070 in fines for these violations.

Falls are the leading killer in construction work, responsible for the deaths of three Connecticut workers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards among workers, employers and the public, OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

Manchester, Connecticut, Contractor Cited for 25 Serious Violations

Manchester-based Rockville Construction LLC has been cited by OSHA for 25 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The contractor, responsible for the Hockanum Mill renovations in Rockville, faces $107,100 in fines for inadequate safeguards against lead exposure, respirator deficiencies, falls, and electrical hazards.

“The numerous hazards found at this work site exposed employees to potential long-term health hazards from lead contamination and to immediate safety hazards from falls and electrocution,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “These basic health and safety safeguards should have been implemented before the work started. Moving forward, these hazards need to be corrected effectively and expeditiously.”

Lead exposure can cause long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems. The lead-related hazards found at the Hockanum Mill work site included employee exposure to high lead levels from scraping lead-containing paint; the employer’s failure to provide effective controls to reduce lead exposure levels; failure to determine lead exposure levels or conduct biological monitoring; and failure to train employees about lead hazards and safeguards. The company did not determine if the hazardous substances cadmium and arsenic were at the work site.

In addition, the company had no written respiratory protection program, did not train its employees on the purpose, selection, fitting, use and limitations of respirators, and failed to conduct medical evaluations to determine workers’ fitness to wear respirators.

The job site also lacked a hazard communication program to inform employees about the dangers present in their work area. Employees were exposed to falls from an unguarded work platform, to electric shock from ungrounded electrical outlets and mislabeled or misused electrical equipment.

The citations can be viewed here and here.

Wolcott Roofing Contractor Cited for Fall Hazards After Fatal Worker Fall

The death of a 28-year-old worker who fell 18 feet from a roof could have been prevented if proper fall protection safeguards had been used by M&M Roofing, of Wolcott, an inspection by OSHA’s Hartford Area has found.

The employee was removing shingles from the roof of a house at 89 Flintrock Road on July 12, 2014, in Watertown, Connecticut, when he fell, dying four days later as result of his injuries. OSHA’s inspection found that, while the worker was wearing a safety harness, it was not tied to an independent anchorage point when he fell.

“Being tied to an independent anchorage point is a critical element of fall protection. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop a worker from falling and suffering a fatal or disabling injury,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “While nothing can bring this young man back to his loved ones or coworkers, employers and workers should be aware of this needless loss of life and take steps to review their fall protection programs, so that future incidents like this one can be prevented.”

OSHA cited M&M Roofing for similar hazards three times since 2011 at work sites in Enfield, Wolcott, and Manchester. Following the latest inspection, it cited the company for a repeat violation for failure to provide workers with fall protection at the Watertown job site. M&M Roofing was also cited for two serious violations for an unguarded skylight and for allowing employees to work close to a powered electrical line.

M&M Roofing faces a total of $40,600 in fines.

Study Finds Correlation Between Corporate Wellness Scorecard and Healthcare Cost Trends

High-scoring companies saw costs drop 1.6 percentage points on average

The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) announced earlier this year the completion of a study that demonstrates a correlation between a company’s score on a popular corporate wellness scorecard and that company’s health care cost trend.

The study, which was published in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, examines the ability of the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© (HERO Scorecard) to predict changes in health care expenditures—specifically, whether higher scores on the tool were associated with more favorable trends in medical costs. A secondary analysis also examined the HERO Scorecard’s ability to predict changes in employee health risks.

The HERO Scorecard is a free online survey tool for employers that helps them assess their use of best practices in their workplace wellness programs along with their participation rates, costs, and health and financial outcomes. Scores are based on measures that have been identified by a panel of wellness experts and employers as important to developing a best practice program. The HERO Scorecard is one of the most widely used tools of its kind, with more than 1,200 employers completing the survey since 2009.

This analysis of the HERO Scorecard database shows that employers who completed the Scorecard and achieved a high score had more favorable health care spending trends during the study timeframe of 2009 to 2011. High-scoring companies saw an average decrease of 1.6 percentage points in their annual health care spend, while low-scoring companies experienced no change in their spending levels during this time period.

“In contrast to generally increasing employer health care cost trends, nearly all of the organizations that completed the Scorecard during the study timeframe saw their health care costs decrease or hold steady and the health status of their workforce improve,” said Steven Noeldner, partner, Mercer. “This across-the-board improvement in health and costs could be partially driven by the fact that these companies were more focused on employee health, which is what prompted them to complete the Scorecard in the first place. However, Scorecard completers appear to be committed to finding solutions to health care cost drivers and poor health among their employees.”

The study examined data from 33 employers representing more than 700,000 employees who had completed both the HERO Scorecard and had data in the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan® database. Four key outcomes were measured: health risk assessment (HRA) completion rates, changes in employee health risks, participation in telephonic health coaching, and medical care cost trends.

OSHA Launches National Dialogue on Hazardous Chemical Exposures

Agency seeks input from stakeholders

OSHA has announced it is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work-related illness caused by exposure to hazardous substances. The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits (PELs).

OSHA’s PELs, which are regulatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air, are intended to protect workers against the adverse health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Ninety-five percent of OSHA’s current PELs, which cover fewer than 500 chemicals, have not been updated since their adoption in 1971. The agency’s current PELs cover only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of chemicals used in commerce, many of which are suspected of being harmful. Substantial resources are required to issue new exposure limits or update existing workplace exposure limits, as courts have required complex analyses for each proposed PEL.

“Many of our chemical exposure standards are dangerously out of date and do not adequately protect workers,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “While we will continue to work on updating our workplace exposure limits, we are asking public health experts, chemical manufacturers, employers, unions, and others committed to preventing workplace illnesses to help us identify new approaches to address chemical hazards.”

OSHA is seeking public comment regarding current practices and future methods for updating PELs, as well as new strategies for better protecting workers from hazardous chemical exposures. Specifically, the agency requests suggestions on:

  • Possible streamlined approaches for risk assessment and feasibility analyses
  • Alternative approaches for managing chemical exposures, including control banding, task-based approaches, and informed substitution.

The goal of this public dialogue is to give stakeholders a forum to develop innovative, effective approaches to improve the health of workers in the United States. In the coming months, OSHA will announce additional ways for members of the public to participate in the conversation.

The comment period for the RFI will continue for 180 days. Instructions for submitting comments are available in the Federal Register, Docket No. OSHA-2012-0023. For more information, click here

New Resource Helps Enhance Posture Assessment Practices in the Workplace

Overexertion injuries cost businesses billions each year

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the Canadian Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, has released a new report that can help occupational health and safety practitioners more accurately and efficiently assess postural stress of workers performing their duties at work.

The ability to conduct posture assessments in the workplace can assist with the prevention and control of musculoskeletal disorders.

The report, Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement, describes a research-based approach to classifying the severity of torso and arm posture. This approach has been demonstrated to improve the accuracy and efficiency of workplace posture analysis.

The authors address enhancements such as the benefits of digital video, computer software, training, and use of visual cues. Additionally, the report provides practitioners with useful tips for digitally recording and analyzing workers’ posture.

“Overexertion injuries to muscles, bones or joints cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year,” said Brian Lowe, Ph.D., research industrial engineer and NIOSH author. “This report can assist practitioners by providing research-based and practical recommendations to improve their practice of posture analysis of workers who are at risk of injury from lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, or manual handling.”

Useful tips for recording and analyzing workers’ posture include:

  • Record the task from multiple views and encourage the worker to avoid loose-fitting clothing.
  • If possible, have one of those views be perpendicular to the plane of the joint movement.
  • Zoom in on limb segments so that the joint of interest is as large as possible in the camera field of view.

Connecticut Roofing Contractor Faces Nearly $300K in OSHA Fines

Company exposed workers to falls at two work sites

According to OSHA, a Hartford-area roofing firm deliberately and repeatedly failed to use legally required fall protection for its employees at two work sites in New Britain and exposed workers to potentially fatal falls. The company faces four willful and two serious violations of safety standards and $294,000 in fines.

“These employees were one slip, trip, or step away from deadly or disabling injuries. Their employer knew this, yet chose to do nothing about it,” says Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Falls are the most dangerous hazard in construction work, responsible for the deaths of three Connecticut workers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, falls are among the most preventable hazards, but only if employers supply and ensure the use of fall protection. Failing or refusing to do so is gambling with workers’ lives.”

Responding on March 6, 2014, to a complaint, an OSHA inspector found the roofing contractor’s employees exposed to 16-foot falls while ripping shingles from a roof at 551 Corbin Ave in New Britain. On April 19, an OSHA inspector returning from another inspection observed employees exposed to 10-foot falls while ripping shingles from the roof of a house at 39 East St. Additional fall hazards at both sites occurred because ladders did not extend at least 3 feet above landings to ensure proper stability.

For these conditions, OSHA cited the contractor for four willful violations of fall protection standards, with $280,000 in fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

At the East Street site, workers were exposed to falls while improperly ascending ladders and faced possible electrocution from working without protection close to a working power line. OSHA cited the employer for two serious violations, with $14,000 in fines, for these hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“Gravity doesn’t give you a second chance. If you fall and there is no effective fall protection in place, the result could end your career or your life,” said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s acting deputy regional administrator for New England. “This is our message to employers: It is imperative that you plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide your employees with the right equipment, and train them to use it properly. It is your responsibility.”

To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards among workers, employers, and the public, OSHA has created a Stop Falls web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.