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OSHA Imposes Stricter Fall-Protection Requirements To Help Protect Contractors

Because falls are the No. 1 cause of workplace death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tightening up regulations designed to protect workers from this deadly type of accident. In December 2010, OSHA withdrew an exemption that allowed residential builders to bypass fall-protection requirements. As of June 16, 2011, OHSA rules stipulate that all workers who engage in construction 6 or more feet above a lower level must be protected by fall-protection systems such as body harnesses, guardrails, or safety nets. If a contractor can demonstrate that these systems are infeasible or create a greater hazard, the contractor can draft a written fall-protection plan and implement an alternate fall-protection system.

OSHA’s website (www.osha.gov) contains abundant information about workplace injury, illness, and death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 40 workers are killed each year as a result of falls from residential roofs. A sobering statistic. OHSA has good reason for the stricter rules. Please always keep in mind the importance of accident prevention on the jobsite.

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