Guarding. Covers and/or guard- rails shall be provided to protect personnel from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats, ditches, etc.However, since 1910.176(g) is under Material Handling, it is easily overlooked by even seasoned safety professionals. The defendant's expert argument was the guarding of ditches should have be a part of Walking-Working Surfaces instead of Material Handling. The Plaintiff's attorney was placing all of his "eggs in one basket" with the fact that the ditch was not guarded. The defendant's expert had pictures of irrigation ditches throughout the country that were unguarded, making his point that it is not feasible or practical to guard all ditches. He treated the ditch as similar to a "leading edge" on an unguarded roof where workers should not be within 6 feet of the edge. A worker must be accountable for their actions or inactions. OSHA is only a subset of a Safety and Health Program. If a hazard can't be removed, work practices become the next preferred means of preventing an accident. The plaintiff was accountable for his quick decision to run backwards. The power plant did nothing to create an emergency situation that provoked the plaintiff to run backwards.
Jon Pina, MS, CSP, is a Safety, Health, & Environmental Expert. With more than thirty years experience in safety management, loss prevention, construction and demolition, coal, chemical, steel, and hazardous waste abatement, Mr. Pina can observe cases from a well-rounded viewpoint of a Safety and Health professional, construction manager, and "hands on" worker. Among his most notable accomplishments, he has held the position of Construction Manager on many large-scale demolition projects. He also has demonstrated expertise in areas such as the operation of chemical plants and gained field experience as a union journeyman pipe fitter.
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