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When it Comes to Safety, Who Really Wins?

     In an article entitled “OSHA’s win is safety’s loss”, author and NRCA executive vice president Bill Good feels as though the new OSHA residential safety directive will cause more problems for the contractors and have a negative impact on the workers that are supposed to benefit from this change.


     He has met with numerous residential contractors and says that only a few of them actually use guardrails. In fact, many he claims have never even used a safety net. He then continues with some possible consequences by first stating “we’ll be tying off our workers” and then mentions that based on a survey the NRCA conducted in 2010, it was clear that new tripping hazards would arise and that certain structures would be unable to hold 5000 pound loads  which would indeed pose an issue.


     By laying down more rules and pushing for expensive fines, he argues that if many have been already failing to use fall protection, there will only be more objections by means of trying to cheat the system. With what he describes as a “one-size-fits-all rule”, areas of the industry will be greatly affected as roughly 80% does repair and replacement work.


     On the other hand, Rick Damato who is Editorial Director for Roofing Contractor has a different take on these changes. In his article “Buckle Up For Safety”, he compares them to the laws regarding safety belts saying “Some folks argue that occupant restraints in automobiles do not make a difference. Some folks believe it is none of the government’s business. I have chosen to use a seatbelt way before it was mandated and I do not believe the practice ever saved my life. But I believe it could tomorrow.”


     Mr. Damato provides a brief statistical summary on the decrease of fatalities after mandatory seatbelt laws had been passed and goes on to mention that he believes in the intent OSHA has put forth regarding this new initiative. His view point is similar to that of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis feeling that one worker death, injury, or illness is too many, and that this directive can help to bring about a decrease in those numbers as well as it is simply the right thing to do.


     We at Hugsafety have our own opinion in regards to this matter. We feel that saving lives is absolutely the right thing to do, and that some individuals are going to be uncertain as far as how to become compliant with this new safety directive. However, a “one-size-fits-all rule” can most likely be considered implausible with the many types of fall protection/ prevention equipment that is available on the market today.


     Do you believe we will see more complications arise, or is this new directive most certainly a change for the better? Does the information and new phase in period OSHA has granted contractors and roofers provide adequate time and prep materials? We would love to know how you all feel about this topic.

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