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Workplace Falls

OSHA Creates NEP Aimed at Reducing Workplace Falls

In May, 2023, OSHA announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) aimed at preventing and reducing workplace falls. The initiative was announced in May with a 90-day outreach period. Inspections first began around July 30, 2023.

According to the OSHA release, “The emphasis program will focus on reducing fall-related injuries and fatalities for people working at heights in all industries. The targeted enforcement program is based on historical U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and OSHA enforcement history that shows the falls from heights remains the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries. BLS data shows that of the 5,190 fatal workplace injuries in 2021, 680 were associated with falls from elevations, about 13% of all deaths.

The Fall NEP allows OSHA compliance officers to open inspections whenever they observe someone working at heights-regardless of industry. OSHA anticipates the majority of the inspections to occur in construction because that is where the majority of falls occur.

Also, note that the NEP doesn’t specify at what height someone must be working to initiate an inspection. OSHA regulations vary regarding when fall protection is required, but for most general industry it is set to 4ft.  Employers whose work includes worker exposure to fall hazards should expect an increase in inspections under the Fall NEP. 

What does that mean for glass manufacturers?

While other NEP’s, like the heat illness NEP, have been more of a concern for glass manufacturers the Fall NEP is not to be ignored. We recommend reviewing your safety plan often. Take a walk around your manufacturing floor to identify potential fall hazards and how often employees are working at height. Reducing workplace falls should be a priority.

Often,s torage challenges create the need for employees to be working at any height on a glass manufacturing floor. We’ve witnessed employees teetering on the edge of platforms trying to stack glass lites up to the ceiling. Wakefield offers glass handling and storage equipment designed to keep your employees safe. Our experts can help evaluate your manufacturing floor and identify potential fall hazards and new storage options, racks or dollies that could solve your storage and worker safety needs.

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