Labor and Economic Opportunity
February 27, 2018 - As MIOSHA’s Stop Falls. Save Lives. worker safety awareness campaign continues into its second year, the focus will be on reducing worker deaths due to falls in the roofing industry. While the overall number of MIOSHA-covered worker fatalities declined last year, along with a decline in fatalities due to falls in general, eight were related to roofing activities, double the four fall-related fatalities of roofers in 2016.
“MIOSHA is committed to addressing these fatalities by falls through increased enforcement, proactive outreach and collaboration with Michigan’s employers,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “While MIOSHA is encouraged with 2017’s downward trend in worker fatalities due to falls in general, and more significantly in the tree trimming industry that we focused on last year, any worker death is tragically, one too many.”
The Stop Falls. Save Lives. informational outreach campaign aims to raise awareness of fall hazards, and to educate employers and employees that all falls are preventable with continued training, appropriate equipment, and diligent safety awareness in the workplace or job site.
While falls have historically been the leading cause of death in the construction industry – both in Michigan and the nation – 2017 marked an increase in fall-related deaths among roofers.
MIOSHA will focus its outreach to roofing contractors and industry by sending letters to these employers to promote awareness of the dangers of roofing operations and the importance of safety training. Stand-down events on fall prevention will be held. MIOSHA field staff will be closely observing residential and commercial roofing activities in the coming year. On-the-spot inspections will be initiated if any serious hazards are observed.
Pickelman encourages employers and workers to check out MIOSHA’s comprehensive fall prevention website: www.michigan.gov/stopfalls that offers valuable resources that are free. Publications, safety standards, policies and procedures are available to help prevent workplace fall-related injuries and fatalities. Register for upcoming training classes or check out MIOSHA’s video library that offers many fall hazard titles, a free video loan service, and video streaming opportunities.
Also available at no cost to employers, is MIOSHA’s Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division. CET consultants are available to help employers develop and implement long-term safety and health programs, and comply with current MIOSHA regulations. For free statewide assistance, companies can call the CET division at 517-284-7720; toll-free at 800-866-4674, or visit the website at www.michigan.gov/miosha.
“The best time to take advantage of these free resources and services is before an accident happens,” said Pickelman. “One of the most effective ways an employer can protect its workers is for the employer to establish a safety and health program. We can help them achieve this.”
In 2016, of MIOSHA’s covered 43 fatalities, 22 (over half) were related to falls, with six fall fatalities of tree trimmers. In 2017, of MIOSHA’s 38 covered fatalities, 15 (39 percent) were related to falls, with two fatalities of tree trimmers and eight fatalities related to roofing activities (53 percent).
“I urge all employers and employees to take every safety measure and precaution when working at higher elevations, and be alert for any hazards,” said Pickelman. “Together, we can stop falls and save lives to help ensure that every Michigan worker goes home unharmed at the end of the day.”