Construction workers in Pennsylvania should know that falls are the top cause of accidental fatalities at their jobs. In 2015, 350 of the 937 on-the-job fatalities that occurred at such workplaces around the country were the result of falls.
According to the National Safety Council, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists falls as the leading workplace safety violations in 2017. In order to improve the situation, OSHA has begun issuing substantial fines for specific types of violations, such as instances of repeat violations.
For example, a roofing contractor in Florida was assessed over $1.5 million by the agency in August for having repeat violations related to falls. The company was also added to OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Programs, under which it will be required to undergo additional inspections and monitoring.
Another issue that is being addressed by OSHA is trench safety. In August 2017, a contractor in South Dakota was fined for $95,000 for having workplace conditions in place that contributed to a collapse. Even though the worker survived the incident, OSHA determined that the company was at fault as the necessary protections systems were not in place and the required inspections were not executed. The companies that are fined by the agency are also subjects of press releases issued by OSHA that detail not only the repeated violations but also the consequences the company must endure. Detractors state that the press releases have a minimal or no effect on improving workplace safety, while advocates of the practice assert that the publicity informs the public about workplace safety issues.
People who are injured as a result of performing their job duties in unsafe working conditions may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney can often assist with the preparation and submission of the claim documentation.