A scaffold collapse earlier this month in Yonkers, NY left two construction workers suspended 13 stories in the air, but the fall protection devices worn by both workers allowed them to be rescued by the Yonkers Fire Department.
OSHA is pointing to the incident as an example of how using fall protection safeguards prevents fatalities. According to the agency, each worker was wearing a personal fall arrest system and attached to a lifeline.
"Too many times, we've seen workers fall and die, or sustain serious injuries, because they lacked fall protection," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It's clear in this case that fall protection safeguards helped save these workers' lives. We want employers and workers to take note of this reality. We urge employers to review their fall protection programs and make certain their workers are properly trained and equipped."
Falls are the number one killer in construction work. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 617 workers in the U.S. died in falls in 2009, including 24 workers in the state of New York. OSHA's fall protection standards require, among other things, that employers develop fall protection programs, determine the most effective fall protection measures for a job, and provide their workers with effective training and protective equipment.
Detailed information on fall protection is available from OSHA online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html#construction.
The scaffold collapse remains under investigation by OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office.