Cal/OSHA shuts down construction project citing inadequate protection for workers (3/15)
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR), Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) launched an initial investigation on March 4, after a complaint about the construction jobsite in Menifee, south of Riverside. At the time of the inspection, workers were not wearing any fall protection.
“Roofing construction is inherently dangerous and falls have been an ongoing source of injuries and deaths,” said DIR Director John C. Duncan. “Inspectors continue to find that proper fall protection systems are not being used to provide sufficient protection for workers in the construction industry. Cal/OSHA will continue to take appropriate action against employers who are not providing adequate levels of protection for their employees.”
After Cal/OSHA inspectors confronted the foreman for Falcon Roofing, employees were provided with a “compliance in a bucket” fall protection kit. These kits are sold under a variety of brand names and come in 5-gallon buckets. The buckets contain a lightweight roof anchor, a rope and rope grab, and a safety harness. Cal/OSHA does not approve the kits as fall protection for residential roofing work. The Cal/OSHA Research & Standards Development Unit has found that the ropes in the kit contain latches that could easily snag and that the rope grabs require constant re-adjustment.
“Cal/OSHA is committed to taking aggressive action to protect employees in the construction industry,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh. “The fact that some employers are using non-approved safety kits, highlights the fact that our services are urgently needed in order to ensure workers in dangerous industries are offered the best protection available to them.”
The only personal fall protection equipment approved by the Cal/OSHA Research & Standards Development Unit is a retractable system which adjusts automatically to the roof edge and limits the load on a roof anchor in the event of a fall.
Due to the increased use of “compliance in a bucket” fall protection kits, Cal/OSHA enforcement staff has been instructed to inspect the fall protection equipment in use whenever they encounter a roofing construction site.
Cal/OSHA conducted more than 2,200 construction inspections last year, with an emphasis on residential construction. The inspections focus on preventing injuries and fatalities due to falls. Cal/OSHA also offers free on site assistance to the construction industry through their Consultation Service. For more information on Cal/OSHA Consultation visit www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/consultation.html or call 800-963-9424.