In an effort to lower construction fatalities, OSHA is launching a pilot program to partner with building inspectors in 11 American cities. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis sent letters to the mayors of the selected cities, proposing that OSHA work with and train local building inspectors on hazards associated with the four leading causes of death at construction sites. Not surprisingly, falls is one of the top four, so fall protection will be key to this initiative.
Under this program, building inspectors would notify OSHA when they observe unsafe work conditions during their inspections. OSHA, in turn, would send a federal agency compliance officer to that workplace for a safety inspection.
While I think this is an effort that will improve safety to a certain degree, I think there is a lot for the inspectors to look for already and our expectations should take that into account. Considering the inspector’s background in personal safety, as opposed to building safety, is limited, the types of hazards they recognize will likely be common exposures.
OSHA is clearly getting serious about minimizing fall fatalities. In addition to the proposed changes to the OSHA 29 CFR 1910 regulation, this initiative allows OSHA “to expand their eyes and ears” to discover unsafe conditions.
For more information and a list of the 11 pilot cities, please visit this link.