April 5, 2017
Fall Protection in Residential Construction
By Jonathan Damashek
Residential construction is essential to New York. Thousands of houses, churches and other structures are built or renovated every year in the five boroughs. Usually, this type of construction requires fewer workers and tends to be less formal than in a commercial project. Although it’s not as complicated as building skyscrapers, residential construction can still create hazards that workers must consider if they want to avoid an accident or injury on job. And while skyscraper construction projects are constantly inspected for dangerous conditions, residential projects tend to be overlooked.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides clear guidance about how workers on construction sites should be protected from dangerous conditions. Failing to take precautions can be deadly. OSHA cites the example of a 2014 incident involving a 60-year-old roofer who was in the midst of a routine task for his job — removing shingles from a roof. As the man leaned back on the edge of the roof, his safety rope snapped, and he fell to his death. Although he was wearing a safety harness, the harness was not considered a personal protection fall arrest system, and he was not tied off properly.
Unfortunately, falls in residential construction accidents happen all the time, mainly because the necessary preventive measures were not taken into consideration, and the job of the worker involved has been underestimated. All workers should know that builders are required to come up with a Fall Protection Plan that needs to be evaluated on a site-by-site basis. OSHA recommends that builders discuss this plan with their OSHA Area Office prior to going on a jobsite. The agency also states that the purpose of this document is to ensure that every employee on that site recognizes fall hazards and takes the appropriate measures to address those hazards.
All employees have the right to work safely on the job. We always urge all workers to report unsafe conditions. Your safety and that of your co-workers may depend on you taking responsibility. Read this blog post to learn how you can start taking action.
If you or a family member is a victim of a residential work-site accident, contact us immediately for a free consultation. We are here to help.