Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02-78
Mon., May 6, 2002
Contact: Lorette Post
Phone: (404) 562-2076
(251) 441-6131 ext. 0
OSHA Puts Focus On Fall Hazard Program
MOBILE, Ala. -- OSHA has announced an expanded role for its Mobile area office in carrying out a special southeastern regional emphasis program on fall hazards. Across the region, OSHA compliance officers are authorized to stop at any site where fall hazards might be present. Mobile compliance officers will take the effort a step further, targeting scaffolding and roofing activities to ensure that a "competent person" is on site and has taken the necessary training courses to qualify. Areas targeted for inspections include Mobile, Montgomery, Dothan and Gulf Shores, Ala.
Lana Graves, OSHA's Mobile area director said, "Not only are we going to focus our resources on fall hazards in roofing and scaffolding, but we plan to spend considerable time and effort ensuring that the competent person at these sites has been trained and is prepared to ensure that workers are properly protected from falls."
According to OSHA statistics, last year 33 percent of all fatal workplace accidents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi were caused by falls, and 70 percent of these occurred at construction sites. During this period, OSHA's southeastern area offices investigated 83 fatalities involving falls, 58 of which were in the construction industry.
As part of the concentration on the on-site competent person, OSHA will provide technical assistance to the Associated General Contractors which will conduct competent person training in Mobile on June 26, 2002.
OSHA describes as competent person as one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards on the work site. He or she must have the authority to take prompt action to eliminate hazards. The competent person's duties will vary, depending on the type of work being done.
With respect to scaffolding, the competent person must ensure that scaffolds are inspected before each work shift and are erected and disassembled properly and are equipped with required safeguards. He or she must also assure that employees have been trained to recognize hazards associated with working from a scaffold
Competent persons in roofing must be able to identify hazardous conditions and appropriate applications for a fall protection system. They must also determine that all workers have been trained on fall protection and assembly and disassembly of fall-arrest systems and that a fall protection plan is in effect.
For more information about requirements for fall protection and roofing and scaffolding safety, visit OSHA's website at www.osha.gov or contact the Mobile Area Office at (251) 441-6131.
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