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Construction sites in PA: OSHA inspections find many problems

Construction sites tend to be busy, noisy and dangerous. Falls and other injuries are frequent occurrences and workers' compensation claims are often necessary.

This is true not only in Pennsylvania, but in other states as well. But it is still important for employers to be held accountable for exposing workers to hazards at construction sites.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays a key role in doing that. OSHA recently ended a four-month long initiative aimed at preventing construction accidents.

In OSHA's Philadelphia region, which includes Pennsylvania, along with the District of Columbia and two other states, the agency conducted a total of 545 no-notice inspections during the four-month initiative. Inspectors focused especially on falls and trenches, as well as silica exposure.

Well over half of the inspections found violations. One of the most common violations was failure to provide adequate fall protection for workers working on roofs. There were also numerous problems with making sure that scaffolds were constructed safely and that trenches were properly protected from collapse.

OSHA's regional administrator said the number of violations was alarmingly high. In four months alone, OSHA issued 243 citations for safety violations. It also assessed over $650,000 in proposed fines to employers for violations on construction sites in the Philadelphia region.

Sometimes safety violations are so egregious that workers are killed on the job. In the Philadelphia region, there have been a total of 43 construction fatalities in the last two years. Eighteen those have been due to falls.

Source: "OSHA's No-Notice Inspections Expose Multiple Hazards at Construction Sites," WorkersCompensation.com, 11-28-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Pennsylvania workers' compensation page.

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