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New York, NY — The March 4, 2011, scaffold collapse that left two construction workers suspended 13 stories above a Yonkers street illustrates that knowing and adhering to fall protection safeguards saves lives, notes the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Each worker was wearing a personal fall arrest system and attached to a lifeline. These safeguards prevented them from falling and allowed them to be rescued by the Yonkers Fire Department.
“Too many times, we’ve seen workers fall and die, or sustain serious injuries, because they lacked fall protection,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “It’s clear in this case that fall protection safeguards helped save these workers’ lives. We want employers and workers to take note of this reality. We urge employers to review their fall protection programs and make certain their workers are properly trained and equipped.”
Falls are the number one killer in construction work. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 617 workers in the U.S. died in falls in 2009, including 24 workers in the state of New York. OSHA’s fall protection standards require, among other things, that employers develop fall protection programs, determine the most effective fall protection measures for a job, and provide their workers with effective training and protective equipment.
Detailed information on fall protection is available from OSHA online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html#construction and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
Additional information is available from the compliance assistance specialists in OSHA’s New York area offices. A listing of offices and their telephone numbers is available at http://www.osha.gov/oshdir/ny.html.
The scaffold collapse remains under investigation by OSHA’s Tarrytown Area Office. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor. http://www.dol.gov.