Safety Bob
Safety Management Consultants


TALK #14

What Would OSHA Do?

How well do you know OSHA? The following describes an actual fatal incident that occurred on a construction site. Read through the conditions and description below to your meeting participants and ask them what safety violations they think OSHA would have found following this situation. Also ask them what they would have done at that scene if they had arrived 30 seconds before the accident. (The OSHA answers are noted at the bottom of the page.)

Accident Type:   Fall (Thrown from)
Weather Conditions:   Unknown
Type of Operation:   Cleaning, Replacing and Caulking Brick
Size of Work Crew:   6
Competent Safety Monitor on Site:   No
Safety and Health Program in Effect:   Yes
Was the Worksite Inspected Regularly:   No
Training and Education Provided:   Yes
Employee Job Title:   Laborer
Age & Sex:   45-Male
Experience at this Type of Work:   Unknown
Time on Project:   3 Weeks


An employee was operating an aerial lift, with an extendable boom and rotating aerial work platform. He was thrown from the basket while moving the machine. The boom was fully extended and the machine apparently ran over some bricks, causing the boom to flex or spring, throwing the employee from the basket. The employee was not wearing any fall protection. The employee fell 37 feet to a concrete surface and died from severe head and chest injuries.

No company supervisor was at the site at the time of the incident.

Ask the group – What do you think would OSHA do? What violations would they find?

OSHA’S FINDINGS (5 separate violations) –

1. Have a competent person conduct frequent regular inspections of the worksite.

2. Permit only those employees qualified by training to operate equipment and machinery.

3. Instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his or her work environment.

4. Prohibit unauthorized persons from operating aerial lifts.

5. Require the wearing of a harness and lanyard at all times while in this type of device.

The next time you see an employee of a subcontractor operating a lift without wearing a safety harness, stop them and say something. Your actions might not only save them from OSHA fines and citations – you may just save a life.

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