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OSHA Inspection and Outreach Helps Save Construction Worker From Falling Off Roof

Mr. German Terrazas at the fall protection training session on September 17

Mr. German Terrazas at the fall protection training session on September 17, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. He is holding the grab rope and harness he uses for his roofing work.

A construction worker was saved from falling off a roof as the result an OSHA inspection at a construction site and follow-up outreach by OSHA's San Antonio, Texas Area Office in September 2011.

On July 13, 2011, Arlene Cubitt, a Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) with OSHA's San Antonio, Texas Area Office, conducted an inspection and recommended a citation be issued to German Terrasas, owner of a construction company performing residential construction work in San Antonio. The citation alleged that Mr. Terrasas did not provide fall protection to his employees engaged in residential construction and was not using adequate alternative fall protection measures. The citation also alleged that Mr. Terrasas did not provide a fall prevention training program for his employees exposed to fall hazards.

At the informal conference to review the citation, Mr. Terrasas demonstrated his good faith by agreeing to attend safety and health training, such as an OSHA 10-hour Outreach Training Program construction course. This was incorporated into the abatement certification provisions of the settlement agreement. The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides training for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. The program also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. Through this voluntary program, workers can attend 10-hour or 30-hour classes delivered by OSHA-authorized trainers.

To fulfill the terms of the settlement, Mr. Terrasas attended an OSHA 10-hour Outreach Training Program construction course conducted by the San Antonio Hispanic Contractors Association in August 2011. Manuel Pescador, an OSHA-authorized trainer, was the lead instructor. Raul Carrillo, Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) with OSHA's San Antonio Area Office, provided a one-hour presentation that included a summary of OSHA's proactive emphasis program on the focus four hazards in construction (falls, electrocution, struck-by, and caught-in or -between). Mr. Pescador and Mr. Carrillo, who are both fluent in English and Spanish, provided the training in Spanish.

During a break from the training course, Mr. Carrillo and Mr. Pescador met with Mr. Terrasas, who had told them that he had recently received an OSHA citation for fall protection violations. Mr. Carrillo and Mr. Pescador strongly emphasized that Mr. Terrasas and his employees must use fall protection at all times when working at heights of six feet or more above lower levels. They explained that a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) is one method of fall protection and that the PFAS includes a full body harness, a connector (lanyard or lifeline), and an anchor point.

Mr. Pescador and Mr. Carrillo also arranged for Mr. Terrazas to take a free fall protection training course on Saturday September 17, 2011 taught by Mr. Pescador. This training was developed by the Construction Safety Council with a grant from OSHA's Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.

On September 15, 2011, two days before the scheduled fall protection training, Mr. Terrazas slipped on a roof at a construction site. As a result of the advice provided by the OSHA CAS and OSHA-authorized trainer, Mr. Terrasas was wearing his PFAS, which kept him on the roof and prevented him from falling to the ground. Mr. Terrazas called Mr. Pescador and said, "You were right. This thing [referring to his grab rope and harness] does work. I didn't fall to the ground. I remained on the roof." He thanked Mr. Pescador and said he would see him on Saturday for the fall protection class.

On September 17, 2011, Mr. Pescador provided the fall protection class to Mr. Terrasas at a construction site where he was working. Because of his experience being saved from falling by his PFAS, Mr. Terrazas spoke with other construction workers about the importance of fall protection training. He was able to get six more workers to join him in taking the training.

For more information, please contact Raul Carrillo.

As of September 2011.

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