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OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 BOS 2003-057
April 07, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Free Compliance Assistance Seminar in Bridgeport on May 20
Employers to Review Fall Protection Safeguards
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Disturbed by a recent round of worker falls and by numerous fall protection violations found during its inspections in southwestern Connecticut, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Bridgeport office is calling upon employers in Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex counties to take effective steps to protect their workers against the number one killer in construction. In addition, the agency will hold a free fall protection seminar for area employers on Tues., May 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the North Branch of the Bridgeport Public Library.
Since Oct. 1, seventeen workers have been injured, one fatally, in falls in the three county area, explained Robert Kowalski, OSHA's Bridgeport area director. During that time, his office has conducted 80 inspections for fall hazards, mostly in construction. To date, 41 citations have been issued for fall hazards involving scaffolding, 36 citations under OSHA's general fall protection standard and 12 citations involving fall hazards from ladders.
"We're seeing a pattern develop and we want it to stop," said Kowalski, who noted that falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities, having taken the lives of more than 400 American workers in 2001.
He said his office's inspections haven't pointed to a single cause for the increase in falls and fall-related violations but he noted that with the resumption of construction activity after a particularly cold winter, some contractors might feel pressured to 'catch up'. Kowalski asked that they not do so at the cost of workplace safety.
"Now would be a particularly good time for employers to review their fall protection programs, equipment and work practices to ensure they're in the best possible shape," he said. "That's one big step everyone can take to prevent fall-related deaths and injuries."
Another step is for employers to utilize compliance assistance and information resources available through OSHA, the State of Connecticut's consultation service or private safety and health consultants. "We find that whenever we offer safety training to area employers, their response, attendance and desire for information is both sizable and eager," said Kowalski.
Employers in Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex counties who wish to attend the May 20 fall protection seminar should contact Leona May, the compliance assistance specialist in OSHA's Bridgeport office, at 203-579-5581. There is no charge but advance registration is requested to ensure seating.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565 2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800 347 8029.
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