The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Philadelphia Region office recently conducted a series of no-notice inspections of construction sites across the state. As a result of this initiative, 243 citations were issued, and the agency assessed more than $650,000 in penalties and fines. The initiative was called the Construction Incident Prevention Initiative, and the campaign lasted over a period of 4 months. The agency conducted 545 no-notice inspections across the state, and most of these inspections were focused on education and detection of fall and trench hazards, and silica exposure hazards.
In 59% of these inspections, the agency identified a number of violations. Out of these, the most common violations were failure to ensure that the scaffolding was constructed safely, failure to use fall protection while working on roofs and failure to prevent trench collapse hazards.
Studies have found that workplaces that are subjected to frequent inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration manage to lower their workplace fatality and injury risks. No-notice inspections are ideal for revealing the kind of workplace hazards that can pose a serious injury risk to a worker.
The Occupational Safety and Health Philadelphia Region includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In 2011 and 2012, the agency recorded a total of 43 deaths in the construction industry. Out of these, 18 were linked to fall accidents. Scaffolding-related violations and fall violations were some of the most frequently cited violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2012. Hundreds of workers in the Pennsylvania region are injured every year in accidents caused when they fall off unstable or improperly constructed scaffolding, or fall off elevations or suffer slip and fall accidents. These accidents can be prevented by providing a worker with fall protection gear, training workers to recognize and avoid fall hazards, installing safe scaffolding and supervising the installation of scaffolding.
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