New York employers have to provide a safe and healthy work environment for you and your fellow employees. This is especially important due to the increased risk to your safety inherent to the construction trade.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that falls from heights cause the most construction fatalities. Besides the existing standards for construction industries, OSHA is making an extra effort to prevent deaths from falls.
What is OSHA doing to protect construction workers?
OSHA, along with several other government oversight agencies, implemented the Fall Prevention Campaign. The campaign goals are to help employers and employees recognize the hazards and learn to prevent them with three simple actions:
- PLAN: Determine the tasks, necessary safety equipment, and cost to get the job done
- PROVIDE: Supply and maintain proper scaffolds, ladders and fall protection equipment
- TRAIN: Teach workers to identify hazards, when to wear fall protection and how to use and care for it correctly
OSHA believes that with proper safety precautions, deaths from falls are preventable.
What are my employer’s responsibilities in the Fall Prevention Campaign?
OSHA guidelines require your construction employer to first identify any potential fall hazards on the job site. For example, you might slip off of narrow formwork or slide down a steep roof. Any unprotected edge or walkway presents a risk, as does a walking surface with holes.
Your employer must also ensure that all walking and working surfaces are sturdy enough to support workers’ weight. If your working area is six feet or more above a lower level, or if you are working over dangerous chemicals or open machinery, your employer must provide adequate fall protection. This includes safety nets, guardrails and personal fall arrest systems. Furthermore, your employer must make sure all equipment and gear are in good working order and train you in its proper use.