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At the Start of Safety Week, OSHA Launches Nationwide Initiative Highlighting Fall Protection

On Monday, OSHA launched a program to prevent falls in all industries, providing guidance for identifying, and inspecting fall hazards. The National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Falls outlines the protocols and measures aimed at detecting and mitigating hazards that pose a significant risk of causing severe injuries or fatalities due to falls while working at elevated heights. The program includes outreach to educate employers on ways to protect their workers.

According to OSHA, construction falls to a lower level accounted for almost 32% of the 7,861 fatalities in the industry since 2014. Also, In 2022, falls were once again the most cited OSHA violation twelve years running across all industries.

“Considering that falls remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in all industries, the agency has determined that an increase in enforcement and outreach activities is warranted,” the NEP states.

"The program establishes guidance for locating and inspecting fall hazards and allows OSHA compliance safety and health officers to open inspections whenever they observe someone working at height,” OSHA said in a May 1 press release. “An outreach component of the program will focus on educating employers about effective ways to keep their workers safe.

State Plans must inform OSHA within 60 days whether they will adopt the NEP and if not what, “policies and procedures that are identical to or at least as effective as the federal program,” will be in place. If State Plans adopt the NEP they have six months for implementation.

“This national emphasis program aligns all of OSHA’s fall protection resources to combat one of the most preventable and significant causes of workplace fatalities,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in the release. “We’re launching this program in concert with the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the industry’s Safety Week. Working together, OSHA and employers in all industries can make lasting changes to improve worker safety and save lives.”

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