Arizona legislative efforts to reduce construction worker safety have been rejected by OSHA, and residential contractors must now utilize federal OSHA standards, which require, among other things, fall protection above six feet. The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona had argued that requiring such fall protection was itself unsafe because residential construction uses wood, which might not provide a secure tie off point for harnesses. The industry group doesn’t, however, explain how thin air provides better fall protection.
As lawyers who represent injured construction workers, we can tell you that falls from almost any height can result in significant injury and death. It also concerns us as that, in most of our cases, we find that the injury or death has not been reported to OSHA as required, which tells us that even the significant number of injuries on record is grossly under-reported. It is not a surprise—it is not unusual—to find that an employer has dumped off a severely injured worker at a clinic with instructions to lie about how the injury occurred so workers comp and OSHA won’t be involved. The increase in standards won’t prevent injuries at job sites where contractors refuse to comply, but several large Arizona employers, such as Kitchell Contractors, deserve to be recognized for applauding the OSHA response to Arizona’s effort to diminish safety.
Source: Cronkite News