Versatile Systems Curbing Fines, Fatalities & Injuries
OSHA’S Public Enemy Number One: Fall Protection
Versatile Systems Curbing Fines, Fatalities, & Injuries
Burbank, CA, USA, February 6, 2012 – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2011 year-end review of the “Most Cited Violations” ranked lack of proper fall protection at the very top of the list.
This is not a surprise to OSHA’s Directorate of Construction Jim Maddux who explained in December’s issue of Safety and Health that “Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatality in the construction industry. Even though construction work has declined in the last few years, 260 construction workers died from falls in 2010.”
260 fall fatalities in one field alone were more than enough to inspire last year’s crackdown on the misuse and non-usage of fall protection equipment. A total of 7,139 violations were served throughout country. The most expensive fine was roughly $1 million for willfully failing to provide adequate protection and training
“When I see workers at 30 and 40 feet connected to nothing, it says something; that there’s a complete disregard, resentment, for [falls] as a realistic injury” said Scott MacKay, director of the OSHA Training Institute in San Diego.
This disregard is a point of frustration for many in the safety field. Falls are the most dangerous risks Americans face each work day, yet the pervading mentality toward safe practices is often derision for safety.
John McHugh, CEO of Versatile Systems, Inc., a California fall protection company, believes that: “It’s often complacency. Old timers stuck in their ways; and because they never received formal training they don’t understand the benefits. Financially speaking, neither do the company execs more concerned for their bottom line.”
If they did understand the costs, fall protection would be a non-issue; the price of depriving workers of fall protection is staggering. Of OSHA’s Top 10 highest monetary penalties during 2011, three were due to inadequate fall protection. Combined, the three cases alone roughly totaled $2 million in fines; these fines do not even include the cost of worker’s compensation companies must pay.
Companies rarely take preemptive safety measures. “A decade ago, there was a fatality at one of the major [film] studios on a boom lift, since then the major studios banded together to ensure it would never happen again,” said Scott Bohres, manager of safety at Warner Brother’s Studios.
As is all too often the case, it takes a tragedy. OSHA’s fines are a strategy to combat reactive implementation and inspire proactive action.
Fortunately, overcoming the risk of gravity is more easily attainable today, than it has ever been in global history because of recent technological advancements which now provide devices with greater durability, mobility, and comfortability.
There is no longer a technology excuse for unsafe elevated conditions. According to Mr. MacKay, safety now relies on whether workers are trained; a sentiment shared by many in the industry.
Mr. McHugh of Versatile Systems, Inc., added: “The lack of training can often put employees in greater danger. They’re handed a harness and told to work, but they neither know what to do with the harness, nor why they need it, that’s why we work with Cal/OSHA to offer the kind of training that saves lives.”
Versatile Systems, Inc. is a turn-key fall protection provider in Burbank, California. Like many, they have increased efforts in recent years to provide fall protection training opportunities. This in turn has led to a partnership with Cal/OSHA and a surplus of courses provided.
“Ten years ago you couldn’t find fall protection training, they were few and far between,” says Mr. Bohres, of Warner Brother’s Studios. He added: “[fall protection training’s] recent prevalence is improving safety across the board.”
As for 2012, there will be no lack of fall protection training courses. The first of Versatile Systems, Inc.’s training courses starts March 5th-8th in Burbank, California. Their goal is to inspire a safety mentality that individuals can take with them back to their workplace.
“I’m excited to share what I’m passionate about, excited to teach skills that save lives,” said Mr. McHugh.
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Versatile Systems, Inc.
2514 N. Naomi