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Fines for Residential Worksite Fall Hazards

Residential worksite fall hazards equal significant fines for a Florida based roofing company. Crown Roofing LLC, based out of Sarasota has been fined $265,196 for exposing employees to fall hazards on two different residential worksites. The cites (St. Lucie & Naples) were inspected in August & October of 2018.

residential worksite fall hazards

The fine is so hefty because out of the 17 inspections performed by OSHA in the past five years, 11 of them resulted in repeat violations in fall protection.

“Companies that fail to meet basic fall protection requirements are placing workers’ lives at risk,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale Area Director. “Crown Roofing’s repeated disregard for complying with safety and health standards demonstrates their indifference to employee safety.”

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Director Sentenced After Employee Fall

Director sentenced after an employee fall. The Health and Safety Executive inspected the company after an employee fell from a roof and sustained life-threatening injuries. On April 7th, 2017 the worker was performing roof repairs when he fell through a skylight. He landed on the concrete floor below and sustained fractures to his vertebrae, ribs, elbow, wrist and sacral bones. His recovery took 8 weeks in the hospital.

Director Sentenced After Employee Fall

Graham Dyson, the Director of Globalforce Contracts Limited failed to properly plan the work and provide fall protection to his employees. The employee who fell had never done roof repair work and was not properly trained on the equipment or proper safety procedures.

Mr. Dyson had a history of unsafe working practices and plead guilty to a citation in 2005. This most recent citation included a fine and an sentencing of 200 hours of community service.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Hills said “This incident could so easily have been prevented. Work at height on asbestos cement roofing is dangerous and requires adequate planning, organisation, training and equipment.

The director was aware of the need to access and repair the roof. He could have provided work at height training and equipment to workers, or simply contracted the task out to a professional roofing company. Directors should be aware that they may be held personally accountable if they endanger the lives of their employees.”

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Preventing Workplace Falls

Preventing workplace falls can mean the difference between life and death. There are hundreds of workers that die in work related falls every year. By planning to get the job done safely, providing the right fall protection equipment, and training workers to use that equipment safely – these risks can be eliminated.

This informational video from OSHA explains 5 ways to prevent workplace falls.

Stop Falls. Save Lives.

5 Ways for Preventing Workplace Falls

  • If you’re working at 6 feet or more, use fall protection.
  • Before starting a job, make a fall prevention plan.
  • Provide workers with the right equipment for the job.
  • Train everyone to use the equipment safely.
  • Inspect your harness, lanyard, and anchorage point before each use.

To learn more about fall protection products and engineered solutions contact our team of fall protection specialists at 888-596-5367.

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Grain Industry Overhead Fall Protection

Overhead fall protection is the preferred solution for the grain industry. Fall Protection Systems has implemented a Tug & Lock Procedure which allows for workers to be in full compliance while working atop of railcars that are in motion. This is the most effective and cost efficient type of grain industry overhead fall protection available in the marketplace.

Rigid Rail Vs. Cable Fall Protection

OSHA compliant rigid rail systems offer a safer alternative to cable fall protection systems. Here are some important considerations when looking into grain industry overhead fall protection:

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Fall Protection Saves Lives

Yesterday in Fort Worth, Texas a video was captured after a construction elevator partially collapsed. In the video you can clearly see that fall protection saves lives. While the worker is hanging from the side of the building, he was tethered which allowed him to pull himself back up to safety.

Can you imagine what the outcome would have been had he not been using proper fall protection in this situation?

While the worker was safe and injury free after the incident a pedestrian walking underneath the fall was critically injured by falling debris according to the Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Mike Drivdahl.

Learn more about fall protection anchorage options and solutions available here.

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Guardrail Warehouse Barriers

A new take on an existing product from Fall Protection Systems. Guardrail warehouse barriers are available to prevent machinery collisions. These easy to assemble guardrail systems can be used to protect:

  • Walls
  • Corners
  • Racking Units
  • Posts
  • Pipes

This guardrail is sold as a kit option and can be used both indoor and outdoor in hot dip galvanized steel and powder coated in yellow for higher visibility.

Guardrail Warehouse Barriers

Other advantages of this fully modular system is that they are easy to put together and even re-configure if needed. Should any part become damaged it is easily replaceable.

To learn more about these systems or receive pricing contact us at 888-596-5367!

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The OSHA Cold Stress Guide

The OSHA cold stress guide is a helpful resource for employers and workers during this extreme cold snap across the country.

Anyone working in a cold environment may be at risk of cold stress. Some workers may be required to work outdoors in cold environments and for extended periods, for example, snow cleanup crews, sanitation workers, police officers and emergency response and recovery personnel, like firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Cold stress can be encountered in these types of work environment. The following frequently asked questions will help workers understand what cold stress is, how it may affect their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.

How cold is too cold?

What constitutes extreme cold and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions that are not used to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered “extreme cold.” A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Whenever temperatures drop below normal and wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly.

Wind chill is the temperature your body feels when air temperature and wind speed are combined. For example, when the air temperature is 40°F, and the wind speed is 35 mph, the effect on the exposed skin is as if the air temperature was 28°F.

Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature (core temperature). This may lead to serious health problems, and may cause tissue damage, and possibly death.

What are the risk factors that contribute to cold stress?

Some of the risk factors that contribute to cold stress are:

  • Wetness/dampness, dressing improperly, and exhaustion
  • Predisposing health conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes
  • Poor physical conditioning
How does the body react to cold conditions?

In a cold environment, most of the body’s energy is used to keep the internal core temperature warm. Over time, the body will begin to shift blood flow from the extremities (hands, feet, arms, and legs) and outer skin to the core (chest and abdomen). This shift allows the exposed skin and the extremities to cool rapidly and increases the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Combine this scenario with exposure to a wet environment, and trench foot may also be a problem.

What are the most common cold induced illnesses/injuries?
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Trench Foot
What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when body heat is lost faster than it can be replaced and the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F.  Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F), if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia?
  • Mild symptoms:
    • An exposed worker is alert.
    • He or she may begin to shiver and stomp the feet in order to generate heat.
  • Moderate to Severe symptoms:
    • As the body temperature continues to fall, symptoms will worsen and shivering will stop.  
    • The worker may lose coordination and fumble with items in the hand, become confused and disoriented
    • He or she may be unable to walk or stand, pupils become dilated, pulse and breathing become slowed, and loss of consciousness can occur. A person could die if help is not received immediately.
What can be done for a person suffering from hypothermia?
  • Call 911 immediately in an emergency; otherwise seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
  • Move the person to a warm, dry area.
  • Remove wet clothes and replace with dry clothes, cover the body (including the head and neck) with layers of blankets; and with a vapor barrier (e.g. tarp, garbage bag). Do not cover the face.
  • If medical help is more than 30 minutes away:
    • Give warm sweetened drinks if alert (no alcohol), to help increase the body temperature. Never try to give a drink to an unconscious person.
    • Place warm bottles or hot packs in armpits, sides of chest, and groin. Call 911 for additional rewarming instructions.
  • If a person is not breathing or has no pulse:
    • Call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately.
    • Treat the worker as per instructions for hypothermia, but be very careful and do not try to give an unconscious person fluids.
    • Check him/her for signs of breathing and for a pulse. Check for 60 seconds.
    • If after 60 seconds the affected worker is not breathing and does not have a pulse, trained workers may start rescue breaths for 3 minutes.
    • Recheck for breathing and pulse, check for 60 seconds.
    • If the worker is still not breathing and has no pulse, continue rescue breathing.
    • Only start chest compressions per the direction of the 911 operator or emergency medical services*
    • Reassess patient’s physical status periodically.

*Chest compression are recommended only if the patient will not receive medical care within 3 hours.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. The lower the temperature, the more quickly frostbite will occur. Frostbite typically affects the extremities, particularly the feet and hands. Amputation may be required in severe cases.

What are the symptoms of frostbite?
  • Reddened skin develops gray/white patches.  
  • Numbness in the affected part.
  • Feels firm or hard.
  • Blisters may occur in the affected part, in severe cases.
What can be done for a person suffering from frostbite?
  • Follow the recommendations described above for hypothermia.
  • Do not rub the affected area to warm it because this action can cause more damage.
  • Do not apply snow/water. Do not break blisters.
  • Loosely cover and protect the area from contact.
  • Do not try to rewarm the frostbitten area before getting medical help; for example, do not place in warm water. If a frostbitten area is rewarmed and gets frozen again, more tissue damage will occur. It is safer for the frostbitten area to be rewarmed by medical professionals.
  • Give warm sweetened drinks, if the person is alert. Avoid drinks with alcohol.
What is immersion/trench foot?

Trench Foot or immersion foot is caused by prolonged exposure to wet and cold temperatures. It can occur at temperatures as high as 60°F if the feet are constantly wet. Non-freezing injury occurs because wet feet lose heat 25-times faster than dry feet. To prevent heat loss, the body constricts the blood vessels to shut down circulation in the feet. The skin tissue begins to die because of a lack of oxygen and nutrients and due to the buildup of toxic products.

What are the symptoms of trench foot?
  • Redness of the skin, swelling, numbness, blisters
What can be done for a person suffering from immersion foot?
  • Call 911 immediately in an emergency; otherwise seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
  • Remove the shoes, or boots, and wet socks.
  • Dry the feet.
How can cold stress be prevented?

Although OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970). Employers should, therefore, train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers’ safety and health.

Employers should train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.

Employers should provide engineering controls. For example, radiant heaters may be used to warm workers in outdoor security stations. If possible, shield work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill.

Employers should use safe work practices. For example, it is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Employers therefore, can provide plenty of warm sweetened liquids to workers.  Avoid alcoholic drinks. If possible, employers can schedule heavy work during the warmer part of the day. Employers can assign workers to tasks in pairs (buddy system), so that they can monitor each other for signs of cold stress. Workers can be allowed to interrupt their work, if they are extremely uncomfortable. Employers should give workers frequent breaks in warm areas. Acclimatize new workers and those returning after time away from work, by gradually increasing their workload, and allowing more frequent breaks in warm areas, as they build up a tolerance for working in the cold environment. Safety measures, such as these, should be incorporated into the relevant health and safety plan for the workplace.

Dressing properly is extremely important to preventing cold stress. The type of fabric worn also makes a difference. Cotton loses its insulation value when it becomes wet. Wool, silk and most synthetics, on the other hand, retain their insulation even when wet. The following are recommendations for working in cold environments:

  • Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layering provides better insulation. Do not wear tight fitting clothing.
    • An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
    • A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet.
    • An outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Wear a hat or hood to help keep your whole body warmer. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
  • Use a knit mask to cover the face and mouth (if needed).
  • Use insulated gloves to protect the hands (water resistant if necessary).
  • Wear insulated and waterproof boots (or other footwear).
Safety Tips for Workers
  • Your employer should ensure that you know the symptoms of cold stress.
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.
  • Dress properly for the cold.
  • Stay dry in the cold because moisture or dampness, e.g. from sweating, can increase the rate of heat loss from the body.
  • Keep extra clothing (including underwear) handy in case you get wet and need to change.
  • Drink warm sweetened fluids (no alcohol).
  • Use proper engineering controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by your employer.
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Understanding Leading Edges in Fall Protection

When dealing with fall protection, special consideration needs to be taken with sharp edges. Understanding leading edges in fall protection is imperative and can mean the difference between life and death in a fall.

Special considerations have been taken and standards are changing to what is required to protect workers in leading or sharp edges. These two environments are unique and involve higher risks due to cutting or fraying of personal fall protection systems.

Leading Edges Vs. Sharp Edges

A sharp edge is one that, for practical purposes, is not rounded and has the potential to cut most types of lifelines. The ANSI standard for sharp edges, for example, involves testing the fall arrest device’s lifeline over a piece of steel bar with a radius of no more than 0.005” (5 one thousands of an inch). If the lifeline is cut or severely damaged, the device fails the test and does not comply with ANSI.

Understanding Leading Edges

To visualize a leading edge, imagine a worker installing steel decking on a new building. Now imagine the worker’s fall protection system is anchored at foot level behind him. As the worker moves out and away from the anchor point while installing the decking, the worker is exposed to a potential fall over the edge of the building or the edge of an elevated platform.

Download the full article here.

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New Fall Protection Anchorage

The 3M DBI-SALA Mobi-Lok offers new fall protection anchorage versatility. This portable vacuum anchor system can attach to virtually any smooth, no porous surface which enables workers the ability to work safely anywhere needed. Each unit is engineered and rated for fall arrest applications up to 310 pounds, and can also be used for fall restraint for maximum versatility.

New Fall Protection Anchorage

With no drilling or welding required for installation there is virtually no impact on productivity with minimal downtime. Portability is an added feature allowing workers to easily move anchorage points as needed for different coverage areas.

New Fall Protection Anchorage
Mobi-Lok Used in Tank Farm Applications

All Mobi-Lok models are OSHA, CE and AS/NZS compliant. There is a comprehensive backup system as well. If there is any compression lost on the seal, an audio alarm will sound to notify the user to check the vacuum seal.

Two units can be used together to create a horizontal lifeline across a wider span. This creates a continuous anchorage point for up to two users to work simultaneously. The versatility of this product makes it an excellent choice across many industries and applications such as:

  • Aviation
  • Tank Farms
  • Barge Manufacturing
  • Railroads
  • Power Plants
  • Facility Maintenance
  • Construction
  • Plant Operations

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Sawmill Safety Checklist

Sawmill Safety Checklist from Lumbermens
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