Since June 13, five fall-related incidents at Philadelphia-area construction sites have resulted in deaths or injuries, according to a press release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The latest incident occurred on July 7, when roofing worker Roy Chacon, 37, died after he fell 25 feet at a worksite.
OSHA’s Philadelphia area office says it has conducted 129 inspections related to worker falls in the construction industry since October 1, 2015. The agency found that falls accounted for 40 percent of all fatalities.
“With basic fall protection in place, these employers could have prevented these tragedies,” said OSHA Philadelphia area office director Nicholas DeJesse. “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the deceased worker and with those who must learn to cope with permanent disabilities because their employers failed to ensure a safe workplace. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and the use of proper fall protection can be the difference between death and workers going home to their families. We at OSHA cannot – and will not – tolerate employers who jeopardize worker safety.”
OSHA, the City of Philadelphia’s Licenses and Inspections and the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health have announced a grassroots safety awareness campaign called Grassroots Injury-Illness Prevention (GRIIP). Launching this month, GRIIP will bring together employers, workers, labor unions and other workplace safety advocates for a series of forums seeking a collaborative approach to address construction site health and safety issues.
There are several ways to protect workers from falls. These include guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems, such as properly anchored body harnesses and lanyards. Proper safe work practices and training are important as well.