Cal/OSHA is announcing that it is deploying investigators to construction sites throughout the state “to determine whether adequate measures have been taken to identify safety hazards and prevent injury.” Expect aggressive enforcement.
Investigators will be specifically checking safety railings, personal fall protection devices and equipment, and tie-offs. Cal/OSHA also will be looking for trench hazards, equipment safety and proximity to power lines. Cal/OSHA reminds employers that if it finds a lack of fall protection or serious hazards, it can issue a stop-work order at the site, which will be in force until the hazard is abated. Employers deemed to be in violation safety standards also will be cited and ordered to correct the violations.
Cal/OSHA is reacting to a series of recent fatal falls at construction sites around California – and in advance of planned national safety “stand-down” on fall hazards next week – has the Division of Occupational Safety and Health fanning out to inspect worksites and puts employers on notice to pay attention to fall protection.
Three workers have died in the past two weeks and another survived with injuries. They include a May 18 fatality in Riverside when a worker tied off to a train bridge being dismantled rode down when the section toppled; a May 20 incident in San Mateo where a worker fell nine feet from a wall; and a May 21 death in San Jose where a worker unloading sheetrock from the third story of a building under construction fell over a railing from a sheetrock stack.
Nationally, falls are the leading cause of death in construction.