- In the wake of five fall-related incidents in a one-month period, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made a public plea for Philadelphia construction companies to take greater measures to prevent fall-related accidents, the agency said in a press release.
- OSHA said the July 7 death of roofer Roy Chacon marked the fifth fall-related area accident since June 13.
- In effort to combat these incidents, OSHA said it has joined forces with the City of Philadelphia's Licenses and Inspections and the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health to implement the "Grassroots Injury-Illness Prevention" campaign, which will host several forums addressing the city's safety issues and how to tackle them.
OSHA Philadelphia Area Office Director Nicholas DeJesse said that if the dead or injured workers' employers would have provided adequate fall protection, the accidents could have been avoided.
OSHA said that its Philadelphia office has carried out 129 inspections related to construction industry worker falls since Oct. 1, 2015, and that falls made up 40% of all worker deaths. OSHA has increased its nationwide efforts to prevent construction workplace falls through its annual National Safety Stand-Down educational events, as well as with an ongoing Stop Falls campaign.
Most recently, New York courts upheld a 2013 OSHA fine of almost $250,000 levied against New York contractor Flintlock Construction Services for fall violations on one of its job sites. Flintlock executives maintained that they didn't know about the fall risks, but the judge in that case ruled the company was informed of unsafe conditions and should have made efforts to remedy the situation.
OSHA has increased enforcement actions leading up to a 78% fine increase beginning in August. As part of the most recent federal budget bill, the agency was required to align its penalty structure with the most current Consumer Price Index figures. This is the first fine increase for OSHA penalties since 1990.