Idea Puts Safety on the Job Site

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One home builder hopes a recently introduced falls prevention program that anchors trades to the roof will reduce risk. A practice calling for the use of permanent roof anchors was accepted by OSHA.

January 01, 2007

 

OSHA has earned a reputation for being the safety police, but don't let the nickname fool you. The group can also a good resource for building better safety programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 71 residential construction deaths — not including framing contractors' — were reported in 2005 as a result of falls; residential framing contractors accounted for 25 fatalities in 2005.

One home builder hopes a recently introduced falls prevention program that anchors trades to the roof will eliminate those fatalities.

Ron Borane, a safety consultant for KB Home Tucson, began working on the program to prevent falls 15 months ago under an order from the division president "to do something aggressive with safety."

Borane's answer to the problem was to install permanent anchors on the roofs of each new house KB Home built. Because anchors prior to this solution have been temporary and removed upon completion of the home, adding permanent anchors meant Borane had to convince KB, its trades and even OSHA to accept the new practice.

He enlisted the help of Mark Norton of the Arizona Department of Safety and Health, a state-run job and health program under OSHA.

"Anytime an employer comes to us and says they want to get more proactive with safety, we're going to encourage that," says Norton of Borane's safety solution.

Both Borane and Norton have encouraged any home builder — large or small — looking to improve its safety program to contact its OSHA office. "I think any builder who shows effort with this or effort in general, if they contact their local OSHA representative, they'll see a big difference in attitude," says Borane.

Want to learn more about Borane's program? E-mail him directly at rborane-x@kbhome.com.

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