Articles Tagged with fall protection

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On March 1, 2017, at 10 Milk Street in Downtown Boston, a member of the Boston Police Department was struck by debris falling from construction-related scaffolding.  The police officer was working a detail when the falling debris struck his head and shoulder, causing a large laceration (or cut) to his head, and potentially breaking his collar bone.  Reports of the accident indicate that although the officer was taken to a hospital from the scene of the accident, he was okay and his injuries were not severe. [http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/03/01/police-officer-injured-falling-scaffolding-boston/]

A twitter user and local Bostonian tweeted this picture [https://twitter.com/AlisonTBoston/status/837011997837377536] in the wake of the accident.  In the bottom right hand corner, you can see the truck where scaffolding was being loaded or unloaded.

According to a commenter to the UniversalHub.com headline for the accident, the entire job site was unsafe from start to finish.  “I couldn’t believe how cavalier they were being with their safety and ours,” said user Kaz, on March 1, 2017 at 4:12pm.    [http://www.universalhub.com/2017/scaffolding-falls-milk-street#comments.]  As that commenter described it, the contractors and scaffolding company had “no protections up anywhere and one guy about 10 feet up was KICKING a steel I-beam across the scaffold into place right up against the edge along the sidewalk where pedestrians were still being allowed to pass (myself included).”  The UniversalHub.com user, Kaz, seemed to be talking about his or her experience at the accident site from the day before the accident actually occurred; this could indicate an ongoing lack of safety or supervision on the jobsite.

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by Loren E. Laskoski, Esq.

According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites. In 2010 there were 774 construction site related fatalities with 264, roughly one-third, of these resulting from falls. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and hazard free workplaces. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) is charged with ensuring compliance with the Act. OSHA acknowledges that protecting workers from falls is a priority and has enacted regulations requiring fall protection.

Under OSHA’s regulations adequate fall protection is generally required when performing work at heights greater than 6 feet. Fall protection can be in the form of harnesses and lanyards, guardrails, and/or safety nets. When performing work on a roof, for example, employers should provide their workers with harnesses that allow them to tie-off to a life line. All holes and openings should have guard rails and edges should also be properly guarded. When using ladders, workers are required to maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Work from scaffolding is slightly different, in that protection is required when working at greater than 10 feet.