Friday, October 30, 2009

OSHA Issues RECORD-BREAKING Fines to BP, More than $87,000,000!

What is a life worth? What is safety worth? Well in this case, with the fines, legal fees, damage to reputation and good will, and actual costs incurred - it is measured in the $B's of dollars ...

Taken from OSHA National News Release, U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Office of Communications

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BOMA Supports the ANSI / IWCA I-14.1

BOMA (the International Building Owners and Managers Association) fully endorses and supports the ANSI / IWCA I-14.1 Window Cleaning Safety Standard, now a National Concensus Standard of OSHA, and used extensively for citations in support of fines, fees and also being used by attorneys to litigate accidents, negligence and risk issues.

The full link (as of 2009, Oct 28) here:

What is a Personal Fall Arrest System?

Confused about what is a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) and more importantly, the rules for anchorage of PFAS?

OSHA defines a PFAS in at least three separate documents:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Types of Falls

The most general type of falls involving buildings are "falls from roof". Another category, usually for new construction sites, is "falls from roof structural member".

Falls from roof can be from "unprotected" walking surface, that is, no guard rail or no parapet wall of proper height. This is quite common, and can be easily avoided.

There is another particular classification of falls, the "falls thru roof", as follows:

  • roof opening
  • sky lights
  • non-supportive materials (old, weak, deteriorated)
  • unspecified

Many falls are caused simply due to carelessness or lack of fall prevention equipment. Most fall injuries can be avoided or minimized via the use of fall protection equipment.

Fall Statistics

The source of this information is OSHA, the Department of Labor (DOL), or the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • 14% of all fall accidents are fatal.
  • Since 1992 serious injuries and fatalities due to falls have been on the rise in spite of new regulations and better operations and practices.
  • In 2006 there were 809 fall accident fatalities in the USA; from roofs, unprotected walks, ladders, scaffolding, staging, etc.
  • Surprisingly, the distribution of falls of various heights from 6' to over 100' is roughly evenly spread out. Fatalities from falls of under 6' are rare. Falls to hard surfaces tend to be more fatal (abrupt deceleration causes severe unjuries, head injuries substantial).
  • Falls cost businesses over $170B a year in medical, wages, lower productivity, lower morale and other negative impacts.
  • The actual number of non-fatal fall accidents is unknown, as not all are reported.
  • The costs of litigation and settlements is unknown.
  • The costs of OSHA citations can be quite substantial.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The OSHA "General Duty" Clause

Each employer has a fiduciary responsibility for safety and safe working conditions.

According to OSHA Act of 1970 // SEC. 5. Duties

(a) Each employer -- (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; and (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

(b) Each employee -- shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.