>  Protecting Lives or Paying Fines
Construction crew getting fall protection awareness demonstration

​​​This article was first published in Professional Safety Journal and can be found at www.asse.org/professional-safety.

​Fall protection was the most commonly cited OSHA violation in both 2014 and 2015. In response, OSHA is increasing fines for violations and will be conducting more frequent and stringent inspections this year. The goal is to remind organizations of the prevalence of fall protection violations, and help them reinvigorate their efforts to support a safety culture that protects workers from injury and death.

According to its online database, OSHA identified close to 600 fall protection violations in the U.S. in 2015 alone, with penalties of at least $40,000 per violation, totaling more than $54 million. Jordan Barab, OSHA deputy assistant secretary, said in a written statement that the agency’s “current penalties are clearly not strong enough to provide adequate incentives, and some employers see them as simply the ‘cost of doing business.’”

While OSHA continually pressures companies to stop viewing fines and violations as a budget line item, it is our job as fall protection specialists to help employers understand the value of protecting their most valuable assets: their workers. It is not about avoiding fines; it is about changing work site culture and investing in worker safety.​

Tips on How to Incorporate Fall Protection Safety Into Your Culture

Enacting and enforcing strong fall protection practices that adhere to current regulations and keep workers safe can be an uphill battle. The key is to create an environment in which fall protection safety is implemented and followed seamlessly every day.

The following five tips (view them here) on how to incorporate fall protection safety into an organization’s culture are the result of the authors’ combined understanding of safe behaviors and fall protection.​ So how might you reinforce safety from the top down or eliminate unsafe behavior at height? Authors, Craig Firl and Steve Kosch, talk about how to take the five tips outlined in this article and creating a successful safety culture. Download the PDF to read the article in full.

3M Fall Protection combines the products and expertise of DBI-SALA® and Protecta® with the technology and innovation of 3M to elevate safety to new heights and keep workers comfortable, confident and safe every time they climb. See our products and services at 3M.com/FallProtection.