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$3M Fall-Related Citations in Q1

OSHA’s increased enforcement activity in 2020 included penalties of over $3M in fall-related citations in Q1.

$3M Fall-Related Citations in Q1
$3M Fall-Related Citations in Q1

$114,294 in citations for Turkey Construction Planners, Inc. in Melbourne, FL – OSHA cited this roofing contractor for exposing employees to fall hazards at two worksites. This is the second such violation in just over a year and the company has been cited by OSHA six times in the past five years for similar hazards. The current citation was issued for failure to ensure employees used a fall protection system while engaged in roofing activities and not requiring that portable ladders extend at least 3 feet above the upper landing.

$228,592 in penalties for Interstate Commodities in Fremont, NE – Interstate Commodities violated grain handling standards by allowing an employee to enter a grain bin without a harness and lifeline, resulting in the fatal engulfment of a worker.

$52,626 in citations for R&R Contracting Services in O’Fallon, MO – OSHA cited the facility for nine serious violations after an employee suffered fatal injuries after being crushed by a powered industrial truck. The violations included being cited for lack of guardrails on storage lofts which exposed employees to fall hazards.

$170,560 in penalties for subcontractor CLF Construction & $74,217 for general contractor Toll Brothers – After a fatal 20-foot fall at a residential worksite, OSHA completed an inspection. CLF was cited for one serious violation and two willful violations including failure to provide and require the use of proper fall protection systems. The general contractor, Toll Brothers, was cited with one repeat violations for failing to ensure that a subcontractor provided employees with fall protection.

$240,880 in citation penalties for Jaime Martinez Hernandez, Phenix City, AL – OSHA cited the residential framing contractor for exposing employees to fall and struck-by hazards at two Alabama worksites. This contractor has been inspected six times in the past five years and has been cited for willful, repeat, and serious violations for lack of eye and fall protection and other fall-related hazards.

Fall Protection violations remained the most frequently cited by OSHA for the NINTH consecutive year in 2019. There were 6,010 Fall Protection – General Requirements 1926.501 violations, almost double of the next ranking violation. The top ten also include Ladder (1926.1053) violations in sixth place and Fall Protection Training Requirement violations (1926.503) in 8th place. Make sure to understand your risks and work with a fall protection specialist to ensure you have compliant safety equipment in place.

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OSHA On-Site Consultation Program

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. To support this mission and encourage positive engagement with safe work practices, OSHA created a consultation program that is separate from enforcement and that does not result in penalties or citations. The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.

OSHA On-Site Consultation Program
OSHA On-Site Consultation Program

Using a no-cost consultation service largely funded by the OSHA, employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their safety and health programs, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. The service is delivered by state governments using a well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available. Consultations do not result in citations or penalties and are confidential. The only obligation will be to correct serious job safety and health hazards. B

The benefits of participating in the consultation program include recognizing and removing hazards from your workplace to prevent worker injury and illness and creating alert and informed employees who take responsibility for their own and their coworkers’ safety. Additionally, an increased understanding of workplace hazards and remedies will put your managers in a better position to comply with federal and state safety and health requirements, increasing productivity rates and assuring product quality. OHSA hopes businesses learn first-hand that the cost of accident prevention is far lower than the cost of accidents.

The On-Site Consultants Will:
  • Help you recognize hazards in your workplace.
  • Suggest general approaches or options for solving a safety or health problem.
  • Identify kinds of help available if you need further assistance.
  • Provide you a written report summarizing findings.
  • Assist you to develop or maintain an effective safety and health programs.
  • Provide training and education for you and your employees.
The On-Site Consultants Will Not:
  • Issue citations or propose penalties for violations of OSHA standards.
  • Report possible violations to OSHA enforcement staff.
  • Guarantee that your workplace will “pass” an OSHA inspection.

To participate in the consultation program, your state’s Consultation Program’s contact information using the OSHA’s Consultation Directory. The consultant will discuss your specific needs with you and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned to your request, your work schedule, and the time needed for the consultant to adequately prepare to serve you.

Injuries at the worksite are avoidable with proper safety protections and training in place. Fall Protection violations remain the most frequently cited by OSHA for the NINTH consecutive year. There were 6,010 Fall Protection – General Requirements 1926.501 violations, almost double of the next ranking violation. The top ten also include Ladder (1926.1053) violations in sixth place and Fall Protection Training Requirement violations (1926.503) in 8th place. Make sure to understand your risks and work with a fall protection specialist to ensure you have compliant safety equipment in place.

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Protecting our Essential Workers

As we ask so many to continue to work each day to provide essential services including food, power, utilities, and distribution, we must continue to do what we can to keep them safe on the job. As pressure mounts and pace increases, so do accidents. Safety is never more important than when we are relying on workers to keep our nation fed, powered, and supplied with necessities.  Fall Protection Systems will continue protecting our essential workers.

Protecting our essential workers
Protecting Our Essential Workers

What Fall Protection Systems can do is continue to provide the critical safety equipment and service that has kept thousands of workers safe from falls while on the job for over 20 years. We continue to work alongside industrial, manufacturing, and distribution workers now and in the future, installing and inspecting fall protection systems and providing the related components that provide fall protection, fall restraint, and fall arrest. 

Fall Protection Systems continues our critical work of securing these dedicated workers from fall hazards.  You can reach our fall protection specialists via email or phone (888-596-5367) during normal business hours. We remain available for planning, budgeting, quotes, and inquiries. We are prepared to complete video surveys or onsite surveys, installations, and inspections in accordance with any guest policies at partner or client facilities.

Let’s stay safe out there together.

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Workplace Ladder Falls Injured 17,825

Ladder-related falls continue to be problematic for US workplaces, despite being almost entirely preventable. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that workplace ladder falls injured 17,825 workers and 145 of those injuries resulted in death.

Workplace Ladder Falls Injured 17,825
Workplace Ladder Falls Injured 17,825

While fatalities have declined over the past couple of years, injuries from ladder falls are increasing. In 2016 there were 16,690 non-fatal injuries and 183 fatalities. 2017 saw an increase to 17,180 non-fatal injuries and 156 fatalities.

Workplace safety organizations, ladder manufacturers, and safety professionals continue to prioritize ladder safety awareness and training to help stop these incidents.

Though injuries and deaths related to fixed ladders are relatively low, they are entirely preventable. Fixed ladders are permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. OSHA recently updated its fixed-ladder fall protection rules which phases in a requirement for employers to have ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems for fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet and phases out the use of cages or wells for fall protection. Look for kits that offer easy installation and maintenance. It is also important to protect workers at the top of ladder access with a self-closing swing gate and/or guardrail.

Movable ladders seem to pose a particular problem. Manufacturers have made many updates with built-in safety features so many of the injuries sustained while using movable ladders may be more related to proper training and use. Employers hold responsibility here to make the investment to properly train workers on ladder use and to ensure equipment is in good working order. Ladder users need to ensure they follow training and best practices and are inspecting their ladders before each use. Free online training is available through the American Ladder Institute. The free NIOSH Ladder Safety App will help you on the job with features including an inclination indicator and graphic guides for ladder selection, inspection, positioning, accessorizing, and safe use.

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Are You Using Ladders Safely?

March’s Ladder Safety Month designation is a nationwide campaign supported by safety organizations, ladder manufacturers, and safety professionals. The goal is to bring awareness and improvement of ladder safety standards and to educate users on the proper selection, care, and safe use of ladders. Are you using ladders safely?

Are You Using Ladders Safely?
Are You Using Ladders Safely?

Keep basic tool safety rules in mind. Ladders are tools and many of the common sense safety precautions apply.

  • Do not use ladders if you are tired, dizzy, or prone to losing your balance.
  • Make sure you are wearing clean, slip-resistant footwear.
  • Inspect your ladder before use to ensure it is clear of debris and in good working condition.
  • Use the right ladder for the job.
  • Make sure the ladder is set up free of obstructions and in accordance with ladder safety rules.
  • Familiarize yourself with all safety, care, and use information specific to the particular ladder you are using.

Maintain three points of contact. Keeping a safe climbing posture minimizes the chances of slipping and falling from a ladder. A safe ladder climbing posture is defined as facing the ladder with two hands and one foot OR two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder at all times (ascending, descending, or working from).

Know and comply with OSHA standards for fall protection safety. Fixed ladders over 24 feet require ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems.
The required ladder safety systems are defined by OSHA as: “A system attached to a fixed ladder designed to eliminate or reduce the possibility of a worker falling off the ladder. A ladder safety system usually consists of a carrier, safety sleeve, lanyard, connectors, and body harness. Cages and wells are not considered ladder safety systems”. Portable, free-standing ladders are not approved anchor points as they could potentially fall with the worker and cause further injury. Best practice in using fall protection while climbing portable ladders would be an approved anchor-point (with tie-off available without climbing) above a worker using a ladder.

Understanding and working in compliance with these safety guidelines will help eliminate tens of thousands of ladder fall-related injuries and more than 100 fatalities each year. For more resources on ladder safety, visit
https://www.laddersafetytraining.org/ .

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Are You Using the Correct Ladder?

There were 145 worker deaths in 2018 resulting from the 17,825 ladder falls reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Protecting workers from ladder falls is top of mind for manufacturers and safety organizations who are working together on standards, safety equipment and training. As a user working from ladders, you are the next step in ladder fall prevention. Are you using the correct ladder?

You will need to consider the environment of your worksite, the application and height of the job and any obstructions, and the weight capacity that needs support as you climb. Will you be working near electricity? You will need to skip the lighter aluminum ladders. What will your maximum weight load be? Make sure you are adding in weight of any tools or supplies you will climb with to your own body weight.

Get to know the varieties of available ladders, especially standard ladder variations that are most widely applicable. Articulated ladders are portable with one or more pairs of locking hinges which allow for some versatility in being used in several configurations. Combination ladders are also portable and can be used as stepladders, single or extension ladders, trestle ladders, or stairwell ladders. Each type and configuration comes with proper care, safety, and use guidelines that must be followed.

Are you using the correct ladder?
Are you using the correct ladder?

The American Ladder Institute offers free online ladder safety training that outlines safe ladder practices in all applications including construction/painting, building and custodial services, warehousing, power, manufacturing, chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, and at home. Four courses guide you on proper selection and the care and safe use of all ladders.

  • Stepladder Safety (14 Minutes)
  • Single and Extension Ladder Safety (20 Minutes)
  • Articulated Ladder Safety (25 Minutes)
  • Mobile Ladder Safety (16 Minutes)

Familiarize yourself with OSHA Standard 1926.1053 which details the safety requirements applying to all ladders. Work with a fall protection specialist to determine if your ladder system requires ladder, vertical, and/or personal fall protection equipment.

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Business Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

Fall Protection Systems is 100% committed to safety in the workplace. Providing a complete engineered solution to protect your workers with compliant, reliable, and user-friendly fall protection continues to be our #1 priority. We are working with our partners and clients to safely conduct business operations as we remain mindful of mitigating everyone’s exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

There will be little disruption to our services and we continue to remain available for planning, budgeting, and fall protection system inquiries and quotes. All onsite surveys and installations will be completed as scheduled in accordance with any guest policies at partner or client facilities. We are temporarily restricting non-essential air travel of our sales staff, but all remain available through phone, email, or video calls. 

Securing your workforce from fall hazards remains a critical priority. You can reach any of our staff via email or phone call to 888-596-5367 during normal business hours.

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What ANSI Z359.16 Ladder Means to You

ANSI Z359.16 establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification testing, instructions for use, inspection, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of vertically oriented climbing ladder fall arrest systems consisting of flexible and rigid carriers with multiple attachment points and associated carrier sleeves for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds. The ANSI standard guides the design, performance, and testing requirements of Climbing Ladder Fall Arrest Systems (CLFAS), which sounds like it applies largely to manufacturers. In fact, the standard applies to occupational safety and health professionals, stakeholders, manufacturers, distributors, purchasers, and authorized persons. FPS fall protection expert, Tom Dillon, sat down to explain what ANSI Z359.16 Ladder means to you as a user.

What ANSI Z359.16 Ladder Means to You
What ANSI Z359.16 Ladder Means to You

Let’s step back and define CLFAS. CLFAS are systems whose function is to arrest a fall of a user, including the carrier and its associated mounting means, carrier sleeve, energy-absorbing elements, full-body harness, and connectors, wherein the carrier is permanently attached to the climbing ladder or to the immediately adjacent structure. Your safety while climbing is critical and with updated OSHA regulations on all fixed ladders over 24 feet, it is important to understand how to use ladders with these vertical lifelines.

Tom shares these user tips for ensuring compliance: 

  • Ladders must be at a 90-degree angle from the walking-working surface (perpendicular up and down, not tilted left or right).
  • The ladder must be no more than 15 degrees away from the structure they are attached to/accessing. (Angle measured from the top of the ladder to the bottom of the ladder and the perpendicular structure).
  • Arresting forces on the system should be a minimum of 1,350 lbs to a maximum of 1,800 lbs. While this is a manufacturer’s guideline, it is your responsibility as a user that your ladder complies to withstand these forces. Keep in mind forces are spread out between several ladder rungs, typically 3 rungs are utilized but as many as five could be in use.
  • Ensure your shuttle has an anti-inversion feature (this prevents upside-down installation).
  • Ensure you do not extend further than 12″ from the cable to the D-ring. This is often an issue with harness fitting, so begin troubleshooting by properly fitting your harness.
  • To ensure compliance with the ANSI Z359 standard, no individual worker exceeding 310 lbs should be working at height.

3M produced a quick and helpful video review of the ANSI Z359.16 Standard for Climbing Fall Arrest Systems. You can contact Tom or Fall Protection Systems for ANSI And OSHA compliant CLFAS solutions.

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NIOSH App Tool for Ladder Safety

Ladder citations rank sixth on OSHA’s Top Ten Violations list with 2,345 citations in 2019. There were 17,825 ladder falls reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, 145 of those resulting in the death of the fallen worker. Workplace safety-related organizations are putting their resources into developing tools to spread awareness and equip worksites to eliminate these preventable injuries and fatalities including the NIOSH App tool for ladder safety.

NIOSH App Tool for Ladder Safety
NIOSH App Tool for Ladder Safety

The NIOSH Ladder Safety smartphone app is an easy to use interactive tool, designed to promote the safe use of extension ladders and step ladders– it features an inclination indicator and graphic guides for ladder selection, inspection, positioning, accessorizing, and safe use.

The app provides user-friendly guides and interactive tools to prevent major causes of falls.

  • Angle Measuring Tool — Uses visual, sound, and vibration signals to make it easier for users to set an extension ladder at the proper angle (approximately 75 degrees) and to check the verticality of extension and step ladders.
  • Selection Tool — Provides a procedure to select the minimum required ladder duty rating corresponding to user characteristics and tasks.
  • Inspection Tool — Includes a comprehensive checklist for ladder mechanical inspection.
  • Proper Use Tool — Presents a set of rules for safe ladder use in a user-friendly format.
  • Accessories Tool — Describes a number of available extension ladder safety accessories.

Using smartphone technology, the NIOSH Ladder Safety app delivers ladder safety tools, information, reference materials, and training resources into the hands of individual ladder users wherever and whenever they are needed. The app is available in English and Spanish as a free download for Apple iPhone/iPad and Google Android devices. Take a look at how the app works at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF4yDfjna_Y&feature=youtu.be.

OSHA Standard 1926.1053 details the safety requirements applying to all ladders. Work with a fall protection specialist to determine if your ladder system requires ladder, vertical, and/or personal fall protection equipment.

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OSHA Ladder Safety Guidelines

Falls from ladders account for 20 percent of all fatal and lost work-day injuries in general industry. In an effort to reduce these occurrences, OSHA recently updated rules regarding protecting workers at heights on ladders. The OSHA ladder safety guidelines require employers to protect workers from falling off fixed and portable ladders as well as mobile ladder stands and platforms.

OSHA Ladder Safety Guidelines
OSHA Ladder Safety Guidelines

Fixed ladders are permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. The new rule phases in a requirement for employers to have ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems for fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet, and phases out the use of cages or wells for fall protection. It is also important to protect workers at the top of ladder access with with a self-closing swing gate and/or guardrail.

The required ladder safety systems are defined by OSHA as: “A system attached to a fixed ladder designed to eliminate or reduce the possibility of a worker falling off the ladder. A ladder safety system usually consists of a carrier, safety sleeve, lanyard, connectors, and body harness. Cages and wells are not considered ladder safety systems”.

Fall Protection Systems provides cable or track ladder safety systems designed to protect your workers on ladders with easy installation and maintenance. Systems are available as kits that include all of the components and user sets or as individual pieces needed for a complete system.

Ladder safety systems offer hands-free climbing as the anchor point easily glides along the track or cable as the worker climbs up and down the ladder. The worker is attached to the anchor point through a full body harness and a lanyard. In the event of a fall, the anchor locks on to the rail or cable, minimizing drop distance and the fall forces experienced in the event of a fall.

You can begin your ladder safety review with this brief checklist or contact us to secure your work sites with OSHA compliant ladder safety solutions.

As always, an emphasis on thorough training accompanies these updated guidelines by OSHA. Employers must ensure that workers who use any personal fall protection or may be exposed to hazardous situations are trained, and retrained as necessary, about fall and equipment hazards and fall protection systems.

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