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250 Safety Hazards Found at Area Construction Sites

Surprise construction site inspections reveal hundreds of safety hazards, warrant large fines

Federal safety inspectors have uncovered almost 250 safety violations and issued more than $650,000 in fines for dangerous construction sites in and around Pennsylvania.

The action came after a four-month investigation of hundreds of job sites in Pennsylvania and neighboring states by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency conducted 545 surprise inspections that focused on falls, trenches and silica exposure. Hazardous conditions were found at close to 60 percent of the inspected sites.

Every year thousands of construction workers and laborers are killed or seriously injured in construction site accidents.

Following is from the OSHA notice of the Philadelphia Region safety sweep:

Fifty-nine percent of the inspections revealed violations. Some of the most common violations are a failure to use fall protection when working on roofs, failure to ensure that scaffolds are constructed safely and lack of safety measures to prevent a collapse of trenches.

“This alarmingly high number of violations underscores the need for employers in the construction industry to make a stronger commitment to workplace safety and health,” said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA’s regional administrator in Philadelphia. “Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so.”

In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a national campaign to provide employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry.

In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers across the United States were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed.

OSHA’s Philadelphia Region, which encompasses Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, had a total of 43 construction-related fatalities in 2011 and 2012, with 18 attributed to falls.

Workers in the construction industry are exposed to daily hazards and dangers. Injuries can be devastating to the workers and their families.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthy workplaces for their employees. OSHA sets and enforces standards and provides training, education, and assistance.

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