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Construction workers’ accidents: Roofers exposed to fall hazards

Friday, February 24, 2017

A New York roofing company is adamant to fight the findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It maintains that no workplace injuries have occurred in the 10 years of its existence. However, OSHA is concerned about the company’s repeated non-compliance with safety regulations. An OSHA spokesperson said safety regulations to prevent construction workers’ accidents are not only necessities but required by law.

Inspectors found unprotected workers on slanted residential roofs with ladder access that also did not comply with safety regulations. OSHA says citations were issued to the same company on three previous occasions, dating back to 2011, and the latest as recent as last year. The same safety violations were found then, and the agency says each employee of this company is one slip or step away from catastrophic injury. In this case workers without fall protection were exposed to 20-foot falls.

Under federal law, construction projects that require employees to work at heights of six feet or higher must be safeguarded. Guardrails must be installed or safety nets must be put in place. Alternatively, each worker must be issued with a safety harness and must be properly trained in the use of the lanyard and hook that must be attached to a secure point at all times.

It is unacceptable for unprotected workers to be in constant fear of being injured in construction workers’ accidents because of a company owner’s refusal to comply with federal safety regulations. However, some comfort may be provided by the fact that benefits can be claimed through the New York workers’ compensation system in the event of workplace injuries suffered. The program typically provides compensation to cover medical expenses along with lost wages if the victims were unable to return to work for some time.

Source: syracuse.com, “Syracuse area roofer facing $96,000 fine for alleged safety violations“, Rick Moriarty, Oct. 6, 2016

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