Preventing falls and electrocutions was the latest emphasis of a special OSHA program to reduce the number of construction fatalities in Florida.
The new fall and electrocution focus of the agency''s Construction Accident Reduction Emphasis Program (CARE) was explained at a meeting yesterday in Orlando.
"Too many Florida construction workers are killed on the job," said Cindy A. Coe, OSHA regional administrator for the Southeast. "And too many of the deaths are the result of falls or contact with overhead power lines."
The CARE program follows extensive outreach activities with an equally extensive inspection and enforcement effort.
During the past two years, the three OSHA area offices in Florida -- Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa -- investigated 57 fatal falls and 23 fatalities from electrocutions, 13 of which involved overhead power lines.
Statewide, in 1999, 26 construction workers lost their lives from falls and eight construction employees were electrocuted. These two hazards accounted for 63 percent of the total construction fatalities in 1999.
After the first year of the CARE program''s enforcement and outreach activities, Florida reversed its alarming rise in construction fatalities.
With the addition this year of the two local emphasis programs, OSHA hopes to reduce worker deaths in the state.
Partnerships between OSHA and the Florida safety and health community are expected to curb deaths further at Florida construction sites.
On April 18, JEA, the Florida Department of Labor-Division of Safety, and OSHA signed a formal partnership agreement which helps each organization to protect workers more effectively.
JEA has agreed to hold contractors and subcontractors at all JEA job sites to tight safety and health guidelines.
OSHA also expects to enter into a partnership with South Florida Construction Safety and Health Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to improving workplace safety and health conditions for employees.
The partnership will consist of representatives from contractor and subcontractor associations, labor organizations, trade associations, safety associations, local universities and insurers.
For more information about CARE projects or about safety and health in the construction industry, contact one of the three Florida OSHA offices: Jacksonville (904) 232-2895, Ft. Lauderdale (954) 424-0242, or Tampa (813) 626-1177.
by Virginia Sutcliffe