I'm excited to join the community and eager to join in on the safety dialogue. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you and in turn, learning as much as I can from you. This is my first blog post here. I hope you enjoy!
I recently read an article on Finance & Commerce
.com about OSHA's residential fall protection revisions: http://bit.ly/CounterArgument
And I couldn't help but completely disagree. I understand the argument made but it's a narrow-minded one.
Synopsis: Brian Johnson, the writer, argued that OSHA's decision to implement such a revision at the beginning of construction's busy summer season will further hinder the struggling industry from bouncing back.
First, it should be said that OSHA has recently invoked a "Phase-In" period to allow companies time to comply, but some states have the "ability to go above and beyond", Johnson states, like Minnesota is choosing to do in this case.
Regardless of the "Phase-In", the initial date was chosen specifically with the "Busy Season" in mind. And it wasn't made with aspirations of twisting the arm of an industry whose hands are already tied back. According to the National Association of Home Builders
, between the years 2003-2006, fall related deaths were the most frequent during the summer months; peaking in August with 164. That's 164 deaths in a single month.
Of course this shouldn't be surprising because by it being the "busiest season" for residential construction implies more work and coupled with an increase in work comes an increase in opportunities for mistakes, injuries, and fatalities.
With the aforementioned facts of life, it's easy to understand OSHA's decision to mark early June as the compliance date isn't it...are you beginning to see the picture? VSI
, like many fall protection companies, residential construction companies, and lawmakers applauded the date choice; we all looked forward to quelling August's 164 fall fatality figure. But most importantly we all looked forward to saving lives because we wanted to secure the physical and emotional well-being of our workers and families, secure the physical and emotional well-being of our companies big and small, and secure the physical and emotional well-being of the United States workforce.
Furthermore, the Federal Employers Compensation Act
, FECA, "reportedly spent $1.88 billion in wage loss compensation, impairment, and death benefits with an additional $898.1 paid out for medical and rehabilitation services and supplies." http://bit.ly/FECAData
That is nearly 2 billion dollars spent on workers compensation every year. It's blatantly obvious that falls reduce our workforce, reduce our productivity, and increase our debt.
An obvious solution is safety. Investing in safety will protect our employees, families, and companies. It will free funds to be spent elsewhere in this country like education, infrastructure, urbanization etc.
Infrastructure and urbanization...?
Yes, of course infrastructure and urbanization. And those fields don't grow with the click of a mouse from a cozy air conditioned room in a corner office. No. It happens with sweat, smarts and force; prime character traits of the US construction industry. Therefore money saved from the workers comp supports construction projects which in turn supports the growing populace.
That's the big picture. And it's BIG. Safety can and will help bring the construction industry out of its slump. So why not start today.
Most Sincere Gratitude,