Compliance officers will be visiting job sites in York, as the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration launches a no-notice effort to reduce fatalities in the construction industry.
The Construction Incident Prevention Initiative is a newly-launched campaign to curb workplace injuries and deaths, and it will send inspectors to OSHA's Philadelphia region, which includes all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, a spokeswoman said.
In Central Pennsylvania, construction sites will be visited by officers from OSHA's Harrisburg office, which oversees Adams, Berks, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Mifflin, Perry and York counties.
Top four: The visits, which will last through September, are designed to identify and eliminate safety and health hazards at construction sites, which sometimes yield the four leading causes of incidents -- falls, struck-by/crushing events, electrocutions and caught-in-between events, the agency said.
Health hazards OSHA will focus on include issues involving silica, lead and hexavalent chromium, as well as heat illness among outdoor workers.
"Anytime there's oversight and inspections, it tends to help make workplaces safer," said Clark Ruppert, a trustee and past president of the York-Adams Central Labor Council.
Recent incidents: In the last five years, there have been several on-the-job accidents in the area, he said. A worker died last year after he fell from a West York roof, and there were falls during previous years as well, he said.
OSHA's Philadelphia Region had a total of 43 fatalities during fiscal years 2011 and 2012, with 18 attributed to falls, according to Joanna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Labor.
In Pennsylvania, 774 construction workers lost their lives in 2010 as a result of occupational fatalities, according to labor statistics. That number is down from 1, 204 construction workers who died in 2007.
But those numbers don't reflect the 10,000 construction workers across the country who were injured as a result of falls.
Safety: At York-based Kinsley Construction, the most common injuries have been muscular-skeletal disorders, such as pulled muscles, back injuries and the like, said spokeswoman Barbara Sardella. "We welcome (OSHA compliance officers) as an extra set of eyes to maintain safe work sites," she said.
Kinsley strives to be a safe company by conducting substantial training with employees, both at its Kinsley Education Center in York and on the job site, she said.
Likewise, all Kinsley employees have undergone mandatory training in the 10-hour OSHA course, she said.
A 'good thing': Workplace safety committees are another helpful medium in reducing job site incidents, according to Alan Vandersloot, a local labor leader for the last 35 years and a AFL-CIO liaison for the United Way of York County.
Unannounced visits from compliance officers are a "good thing," he said.
"The best way for companies to save money on workers' compensation costs is to have less accidents and less work injuries. Making sure you're in compliance with OSHA policies can help with that," he said.
To ask questions about compliance, file a complaint, or report workplace dangers, call OSHA's Harrisburg office at 782-3746 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.