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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Here at Guardian, although we try to keep our posts on the light and informative side, sometimes you just can’t avoid serious news. Such is the case of the pending increase in OSHA fines. By August 2016, OSHA’s workplace fines could jump by about 80% - that’s right 80%. Meaning a willful violation would carry a $127,000 versus the now $70,000 fine, and a serious violation would be $12,000 versus $7,000. Furthermore, OSHA will now be able to increase fines relative to inflation, meaning those top-end fines may not stay there but continue to go up.

Simply put, it’s not looking good for fall protection violators.

But when you think about it, maybe that’s a good thing. After all, if you can put a dollar figure on what a life is worth I’d like to hear about it, but I’m not holding my breath.

The Pending OSHA Fine Increase & How To Avoid It

What's The Good News?

The good news of course, is that it is possible to avoid the fines altogether by simply adhering to the already-existing law and either wear or provide fall protection.

Do you know how much fall protection equipment you can buy for $127,000? If not, give us a call and let’s talk. I’d be willing to bet that for a much smaller amount you can outfit your entire crew with top-of-the-line gear. More importantly though, avoiding fines by wearing fall protection is ultimately about saving lives. Let’s face it, every worker is a son or daughter, wife or husband, brother or sister. And if you are an employer, they are the reason you are in business; I don’t know of too many people who can build a high-rise by themselves.

Don't Be A Statistic

Every morning I get notices about workers who have fallen and been injured or killed because they didn’t wear fall protection. It’s not the best way to start your day, but the fact is that it acts as a constant reminder that there is more work to be done; that there are more people who need to know the importance of fall protection, and that 600+ deaths a year caused by falling on the job is unacceptable.

Take a moment to consider the weight of 600 deaths. Think about all the people who would be impacted by your sudden death, then multiply it by 600. All of a sudden that 600 gets real big, real quick. And that’s not even adding in those injured by falls, whose hospital bills often add up to be insurmountable. A few hundred bucks of fall protection gear pales in comparison to a day in intensive care.

I’m not trying to bring you down, trust me. But at the same time I think it’s important every now and then to take a step back, gain a little perspective, and remember why we are all here.

If you are reading this, I’m relatively certain you have something to do with fall protection; you make it, sell it, or use it. That puts you on the front lines of a very important mission – to bring that 600+ number as close to 0 as possible. It’s not going to be easy, but with the combined talents and efforts of all of us already in the fall protection industry, I think - no, I know we can make a difference.

How Can I Start To Make A Difference?

Well, it just so happens that May 2-6 is OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction event. This is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about preventing falls in construction. For more information, visit OSHA’s website to find an event near you. In the meantime, be safe up there.