OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down during the week of May 2nd prompted a focus on construction safety in the business press and other media outlets, and by the industry as a whole.
One notable development came from Gilbane Building Co. which has encouraged OSHA to mandate the use of safety harnesses for any construction worker operating above 6 feet high. Gilbane has implemented this policy on its own, creating a stricter internal standard than what OSHA requires.
OSHA requires harnesses for steelworkers operating above 25 feet. Workers on scaffolds above 10 feet must connect to a harness, but are only required to use one attachment. Gilbane’s says its more stringent policy has prevented at least 20 potentially fatal falls over the past five years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that private construction fatalities increased 9% to 899 in 2014, the highest number since 2008. The increase came with a sharp rise in construction activity.