Public Enemy Number One: Fall Protection
Systems Curbing Fines, Fatalities, & Injuries in 2012
Burbank, CA, USA, February 6, 2012 -
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2011 year-end review of the
“Most Cited Violations” ranked lack of proper fall protection at the very top
of the list.
This is not a surprise to OSHA’s Directorate of
Construction Jim Maddux who explained in December’s issue of Safety
and Health that “Falls continue to be the leading cause of
fatality in the construction industry. Even though construction work has
declined in the last few years, 260 construction workers died from falls in
260 fall fatalities in one field alone were more
than enough to inspire last year’s crackdown on the misuse and non-usage of
fall protection equipment. A total of 7,139 violations were served throughout
country. The most expensive fine was roughly $1 million for willfully failing
to provide adequate protection and training
“When I see workers at 30 and 40 feet connected to
nothing, it says something; that there’s a complete disregard, resentment, for
[falls] as a realistic injury” said Scott MacKay, director of the OSHA Training
Institute in San Diego.
This disregard is a point of frustration for many in
the safety field. Falls are the most dangerous risks Americans face each work
day, yet the pervading mentality toward safe practices is often derision for
John McHugh, CEO of Versatile Systems, Inc., a
California fall protection company, believes that: “It’s often complacency. Old
timers stuck in their ways; and because they never received formal training they
don’t understand the benefits. Financially speaking, neither do the company
execs more concerned for their bottom line.”
If they did understand the costs, fall protection
would be a non-issue; the price of depriving workers of fall protection is
staggering. Of OSHA’s
Top 10 highest monetary penalties during 2011, three were
due to inadequate fall protection. Combined, the three cases alone roughly
totaled $2 million in fines; these fines do not even include the cost of worker’s
compensation companies must pay.
Companies rarely take preemptive safety measures. “A
decade ago, there was a fatality at one of the major [film] studios on a boom
lift, since then the major studios banded together to ensure it would never
happen again,” said Scott Bohres, manager of safety at Warner Brother’s
As is all too often the case, it takes a tragedy.
OSHA’s fines are a strategy to combat reactive implementation and inspire
Fortunately, overcoming the risk of gravity is more easily
attainable today, than it has ever been in global history because of recent technological
advancements which now provide devices with greater durability, mobility, and comfortability.
There is no longer a technology excuse for unsafe
elevated conditions. According to Mr. MacKay, safety now relies on whether
workers are trained; a sentiment shared by many in the industry.
Mr. McHugh of Versatile Systems, Inc.,
added: “The lack of training can often put employees in greater danger. They’re
handed a harness and told to work, but they neither know what to do with the harness,
nor why they need it, that’s why we work with Cal/OSHA to offer the kind of
training that saves lives.”
Versatile Systems, Inc. is a turn-key fall
protection provider in Burbank, California. Like many, they have increased efforts
in recent years to provide fall protection training opportunities. This in turn
has led to a partnership with Cal/OSHA and a surplus of courses provided.
“Ten years ago you couldn’t find fall protection
training, they were few and far between,” says Mr. Bohres, of Warner Brother’s
Studios. He added: “[fall protection training’s] recent prevalence is improving
safety across the board.”
As for 2012, there will be no lack of fall
protection training courses. The first of Versatile
Systems, Inc.’s training courses starts March 5th-8th
in Burbank, California. Their goal is to inspire a safety mentality that individuals
can take with them back to their workplace.
“I’m excited to share what I’m passionate about,
excited to teach skills that save lives,” said Mr. McHugh.
For more information on this topic:
Versatile Systems, Inc.
2514 N. Naomi