fall protection

Steps Boston Construction Firms Can Take To Avoid Accidents and OSHA Citations

As reported by the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe – Boston city officials on Friday cited a contractor at a North End construction site where a woman was struck by a falling metal railing and seriously injured, alleging the company was conducting work without proper permits and creating “an unsafe and dangerous” environment.

The city’s Inspectional Services Department has “issued a stop-work order for 47 Commercial Wharf East, in addition to six additional worksites currently supervised by Corolla Contracting. Each site will be inspected to ensure they are properly contained until further notice.”

SHA records showed that Corolla Contracting Inc. has been cited for eight safety violations since 2010. One was marked in the records as “deleted.”

Among the seven others, five were classified as serious. Four of the violations were related to improperly protecting employees from falling, records show. The company was also fined $1,700 for a ladder violation in 2013, and $1,000 for not properly training employees to prevent falls in 2017.

In all, the company was fined nearly $39,000, but the penalties were ultimately reduced to $13,100, records show.

Marc Bianco, chief operating officer for United Alliance Services Corporation, a workplace safety consulting firm, said Corolla Contracting Inc.’s track record of OSHA violations raises a red flag.

The frequency of violations indicated that the company was on OSHA’s radar and as a result may have been more likely to be visited by inspectors, he said. The tally does not include violations the company may face from Thursday’s incident.

Bianco said many companies would rather pay fines than improve their safety measures.

“The fines and penalties that OSHA imposes on these contractors is often not enough to get these companies to move off center,” Bianco said. “It’s often cheaper to play catch me if you can.”

Why is fall protection important?

Fall Protection remains at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations list.

According to the OSHA website, falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.

Preventing Falls

As noted in our recent blog post – Local Company Fined by OSHA for $1.7 million Due To Violations – there are many options for ensuring safe worksites.  Project managers can redesign the methods they choose by employing aerial lifts, work platforms and manlifts for safer access.  Some roof work configurations allow for the use of temporary guard railings, nets or even controlled roofing zones, and positioning devices.  If these are not viable options, managers can look at personal fall arrest equipment that doesn’t prevent the fall but helps prevent a deadly landing.

If scaffolds are erected to limit the fall height, there must be a safe way to make the transition.  Ladders are not allowed to be set up on a scaffold for reaching a higher level unless it is tightly secured against moving in any direction. Employees cannot be allowed to jump or climb over two feet difference of elevation, so use anchored steps or ladder.  If possible, choose a ramp but it also must be securely anchored.

Whatever method managers choose, they must effectively train and designate on-site competent persons to do regular inspections and make corrections to problems before it becomes a hazard to someone.

When following EM-385 fall protection regulations, employers must not only designate a competent person for fall protection, but also a Fall Protection Program manager, a Qualified Person as well as a Competent Rescuer, Authorized Rescuer and the End User.  There are training and retraining requirements as well as roles and responsibilities like inspections that must be adhered to under Section 21 of EM-385.

Do you need to train your Fall Protection Competent and/or Qualified Persons?  Do you know how to choose the best method to protect your employees?

See our course selection to learn more:

 

roofers-min

Local Company Fined by OSHA for $1.7 million Due To Violations

Safety Indictment

How important is it to your construction company to get on a rooftop without considering fall protection?  Is it worth lawsuits for the business owner?  Is it worth over $1.7 million in violations?  How about manslaughter and/or workplace manslaughter charges?

With proper training, most falls can be prevented and when the heights are high, so are the stakes!  If someone falls, businesses could be in jeopardy because of stiff OSHA fines and penalties, risks to your company’s reputation, and legal charges filed for the business owner if there are repeated violations of OSHA regulations.

In Portland, Maine, just before Christmas 2018, a roofer at Purvis Home Improvement Company didn’t come home to his family because he fell while climbing down from the roof onto a ladder jack scaffolding plank. He lost his life that morning as he landed on the ground without wearing any fall protection. One can only imagine how devastated his family must be, and the effects to his coworkers.

Insurance may help the family cope with the loss of his income, but can never replace this loss of life. Workers Compensation may help pay for costs, but the loss to the business is largely uninsurable. OSHA fines are not able to be insured against.  The loss of reputation in the community may be difficult to overcome.

OSHA had previously issued violations to Purvis Home Improvement Company, including a repeat violation in 2015 (risking 3 people) and again in 2018 (risking 6 people) not using fall protection.  The company’s owner, Shawn D. Purvis is now facing a manslaughter indictment as well as OSHA penalties of $1,792,726.  Purvis is appealing.

The previous violations constituted a notice showing that Purvis knew about the fall from heights hazard and either didn’t make the corrections, or didn’t maintain them. Either way, when there is a risk of falling from heights that could kill, employers must insist that employees and subcontractor employees utilize appropriate fall protection.  In Construction, the OSHA trigger height is 6 feet while in Shipyards the height is 5 feet.   For other industries (general industry), the trigger height is 4 feet.  The trigger height for contractors following the Army Corps of Engineers’ EM-385-1-1 standard is 6 feet.

In this tragedy, the fall was reported to have occurred at the transition between the roof and a scaffold plank.  It is unclear how the individual was climbing down, but he was transitioning to a ladder jack scaffolding plank when he lost his footing and fell 20 feet.

Having been indicted by a grand jury, Mr. Purvis faces Manslaughter charges associated with employment management where he intentionally or knowingly violated an occupations safety or health standard of the state or federal government, which is a crime in the State of Maine.  If convicted under the workplace manslaughter statute, he could face up to $20,000 in fines and/or up to 30 years of imprisonment.

Preventing Falls

There are many options for protecting your employees from deadly falls.  Project managers can redesign the methods they choose by employing aerial lifts, work platforms and manlifts for safer access.  Some roof work configurations allow for the use of temporary guard railings, nets or even controlled roofing zones, and positioning devices.  If these are not viable options, managers can look at personal fall arrest equipment that doesn’t prevent the fall, but helps prevent a deadly landing.

If scaffolds are erected to limit the fall height, there must be a safe way to make the transition.  Ladders are not allowed to be set up on a scaffold for reaching a higher level unless it is tightly secured against moving in any direction. Employees cannot be allowed to jump or climb over two feet difference of elevation, so use anchored steps or ladder.  If possible, choose a ramp but it also must be securely anchored.

Whatever method managers choose, they must effectively train and designate on-site competent persons to do regular inspections and make corrections to problems before it becomes a hazard to someone.

When following EM-385 fall protection regulations, employers must not only designate a competent person for fall protection, but also a Fall Protection Program manager, a Qualified Person as well as a Competent Rescuer, Authorized Rescuer and the End User.  There are training and retraining requirements as well as roles and responsibilities like inspections that must be adhered to under Section 21 of EM-385.

Do you need to train your Fall Protection Competent and/or Qualified Persons?  Do you know how to choose the best method to protect your employees?

References:

www.OSHA.gov

www.courts.maine.gov

www.publications.usace.army.mil

Worker using fall protection gear as a safety precaution he learned in em 385 training

UASC filling in EM385 FP Training lack in Northeast

It’s a training requirement that has hit many construction supervisor or project manager’s site; yet, it still seems to be one of those trainings that is not widely offered, even here in the Northeast. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a 900-page manual that outlines the safety regulations for their job-sites, with many of the requirements being a bit stricter than OSHA regulations. Every contractor and subcontractor on a UASCE-overseen job-site must have at least one person who is trained and competent on the specifics buried within those 900 pages of their Engineer Manual (EM) 385-1-1. There’s no getting out of it.

PM’s Need for EM 385 Training

Given the amount of daily phone calls we receive from PMs who need the training ASAP in order to return to work, the UASCE has become more stringent on ensuring this training is completed. They are also doling out some hefty fines as well as issuing stop orders until the mandates are met – especially if you don’t have designated safety personnel on-site. Thankfully, we have several highly competent and trained construction professionals who have poured over the complete 900 pages and have designed a training program that ensures compliance. Our EM 385 Compliance training, often referred to as 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection, is one of our most sought out trainings – often after being kicked off a job site. Those same trainers are able to also assist on meeting the requirements of having a Site Safety and Health Officer (SSHO) and Quality Control Manager, Quality Assurances Manager (QA/QC) on-site quickly.

Federal Bid Requirement

If you’re planning on bidding on a federal contract that takes place in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey or on any of the bases listed below, be sure to reach out to us to secure your training. This will no doubt save your company money, fines, and lost work-time and make you the star employee of the week. We can promise you that somewhere, tucked away in the fine print, the USACE requires you to have at least one person training in EM 385, 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection on your site at ALL times. There aren’t any loopholes or fast-talking yourself out of the requirement. It also doesn’t exempt you from following OSHA regulations and our course clearly outlines the differences between the two. Because of this, we strongly recommend that all persons in our EM 385 training also have completed their OSHA 10 Hour Construction training. For an added peace of mind, we strongly recommend you train multiple employees to ensure that you always have someone available in case of injury, illness, or time off requests.

We’ve clocked thousands of hours of training on this topic at various bases and our experts can help your team members understand the complexities of the UASCE requirements, ensure their fall arrest systems are safe and in compliance, and know their responsibilities on a job site.

Projects on Bases

If you have any upcoming projects in VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY or NJ at any of these bases*, be sure to call us today to secure your training dates or SSHO and/or QA/QC needs:

Massachusetts

Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, MA
Otis Air National Guard Base, Buzzards Bay, MA
Hanscom Airforce Base, Bedford, MA
Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA
Fort Devens, Devens, MA
AIRSTA Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, MA
AIRSTA Salem, Salem, MA
Aviation Station Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, MA

Rhode Island

Quonset Point Air National Guard Station, North Kingstown, RI
NS Newport, Newport RI

Connecticut

Marine Safety Center Marine Base in Groton, CT
Research And Development Center Coast Guard Groton, CT
Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT
Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT

New York

Fort Drum Army Base in Jefferson, NY
Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn, NY
US Military Academy Army Base in West Point, NY
Watervilet Arsenal Army Base in Watervilet, NY

New Jersey

McGuire Air Force Base in New Hanover, NJ
Fort Dix Army Base in Burlington, NJ
Fort Monmouth Army Base in Monmouth, NJ
Picatinny Arsenal Army Base in Morris County, NJ
Loran Support Unit Coast Guard Base in Wildwood, NJ
Training Center Cape May Coast Guard Cape May, NJ
NWS Earle Navy Base in Colts Neck, NJ
NAES Lakehurst Navy Base in Lakehurst, NJ

*This is not a complete list of military bases

To sign up for an EM385 24 Hour Fall Protection Training Class, visit our website. To sign up for the next public class offering at United Alliance Services Corporation, visit our online calendar. For more information, call 774-302-4305.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

hand drawing construction plans

Assoc Builders & Contractors MA Chapter Partnership

MA Chapter of ABC

  • Largest construction trade association in MA
  • Representing over 400 local general contractor, subcontractor, supplier & associate companies
  • These employ more than 22K workers throughout MA

UASC & ABC

We are excited to announce that we are the premier Workplace Safety and only Occupational Health & Wellness (OccuMed) provider of ABC MA!

ABC’s Mission Statement

Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts believes that the common good is best served by an open and competitive marketplace; that every company, regardless of its affiliations, has the right to compete free of coercion by any group or organization; and that every person must have the opportunity and right to work. Toward this end, ABC’s mission is to foster an environment that ensures our members and their employees the ability to grow and prosper.

Call and Schedule a Training! ABC members receive a 10 % when mentioning this blog!

architect in a building construction site

Updated MGL with OSHA compliance

The law has been updated to contain phrases of OSHA compliance since it was written prior to OSHA inception. OSHA will continue to oversee federal and private entities.

The Mass DLS will oversee the Massachusetts Public Sector while following the general duty clause and practices outlined by OSHA. Neither supersede each other.

Mass Department of Labor Standards

DLS administers health and safety inspections of public sector workplaces. The update clarifies the obligations of public sector employers.

Hefty fines are issued if corrective orders for infractions are not addressed within a specific time frame.

All DLS inspections are scheduled except for higher-risk sites labeled as “imminent” inspection sites where active trenches, aerial lifts operations, and roofing are active.

Defining Public Sector

The public sector workplace is anyone overseen by the Commonwealth: courts, municipalities, state agencies, counties, towns, commissions, and educators from public & private schools and colleges.

The requirements are to ensure workers are able to perform jobs safely and in compliance with OSHA regulations.

A checklist has been issued by the commonwealth to provide guidance.

Injury Reporting

If you have a public sector workplace injury that causes a death, amputation, loss of an eye, loss of consciousness, or inpatient hospitalization, call 508-616-0461 within 24 hours to report the injury.

Keep an updated OSHA 300 log.

Call us at 877-399-1698 if you need training on record keeping or check out our public training schedule or online courses.

Be sure to keep an eye on our upcoming blog that dives a bit deeper into injury reporting.