J.A. Siding Construction Services received a citation from OSHA according to a recent agency press release. According to the citation, the primary violation was exposure of employees to fall hazards, one of the most common causes of workplace injury across industries.
Two of the violations at issue are classified as “willful,” and one is classified as “repeated.” These categories of safety violations are among the most frowned upon by OSHA and tend to come with heavy fines, because they reflect an open flaunting of safety regulations. Willful violations are defined by OSHA as when an employer “either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.” Repeated violations are defined as violations about which the employer “received a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years.”
In this case, the two willful violations include failure to “provide fall protection equipment to employees working on scaffolding,” and failure to properly secure scaffolding. The repeat violation involved failure to provide “protective eyewear to workers using a pneumatic nail gun.” The company was fined over $65,000 for the combined violations.
Fall Hazards on the Job
Falling hazards are common on construction sites. They are most common to roofers, but they also pose a significant safety risk for painters, plasterers, and siding workers (as in this case), all of whom spend significant time on scaffolding. Other occupations that present fall hazards include window washers, tree-toppers, and certain warehouse and factory workers.
Falls from heights of more than ten feet can be—and often are—fatal. Falls from lesser heights frequently result in serious injury and can also be fatal depending on how one lands. The best way to minimize the risk of injury or death from falls is to have secure scaffolding and to provide adequate fall protection equipment. Safety harnesses can save lives. However, they must also be properly worn to minimize injury. If they are not properly secured to distribute force to the whole body, a person can be injured in a fall from the whiplash effect of being caught by the harness.
Numerous aspects of construction and manufacturing present the need for protective eyewear. Grinding metal, sanding and sawing wood, and welding are among the most obvious. The risks from using a nailgun are not as obvious. Safety glasses are not necessarily worn to protect against the threat of accidental discharge (as this is a rare occurrence and many safety glasses may not protect against it effectively). But nail gun use often does result in the splintered wood and plastic casings being kicked back at the user, and this is the more likely risk against which safety glasses protect.
Eye protection is very important. Damage to your eye may not only significantly impair your ability to work, but it may also affect your quality of life in other ways as well.
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney if Injured on the Job
If you have been injured on the job, you need an attorney who will make sure you get the compensation to which you are legally entitled. Some employers will try to deny your claim or to blame you for your injury. Do not let this happen to you. Even if you were partially at fault, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation unless you were engaged in gross misconduct. Do not be bullied or pressured into giving up your claim. Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for a reason. Call the attorneys at the Bader Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation. We dedicate our practice to protecting the rights of injured workers, and we will fight for you.