Seyfarth Synopsis: OSHA has just announced a National Emphasis Program to prevent falls, the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries and the violation the agency cites most frequently in construction industry inspections.

OSHA has indicated that the emphasis program will focus on reducing fall-related injuries and fatalities for people working at heights in all industries. OSHA considered that falls remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in all industries, so it determined that an increase in enforcement and outreach activities was warranted.

Despite the balanced application of the agency’s outreach, enforcement, and compliance assistance efforts, fatalities caused by falls continue to be a leading cause of death for all workers. A comparison of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and OIS data between 2014 and 2021 revealed the following:

OSHA concludes that “the goal of this NEP is to significantly reduce or eliminate unprotected worker exposures to fall-related hazards in all industries that can result in serious injuries and deaths. OSHA’s goal will be accomplished by a combination of enforcement), outreach to employers, and compliance assistance. OSHA anticipates that most of the inspections will occur in construction because the majority of the fatal falls to lower levels each year occur on construction worksites.