Two interesting, but oppositional things going on down in the Amherst area this week:
I was looking up at the roof work being done on the Student Center on the UMass campus, and I saw a sight which is beautiful to OSHA eyes. On the right side, the leading edge of the building was entirely enclosed by safety rails, which were both properly secured and neatly nailed together. On the left side, there was a guy doing leading-edge work. He was wearing a hardhat, pants, a shirt, boots, and a safety harness. The harness was attached with a lanyard to a rope, and there was no slack. All the guys on and around the building were wearing hardhats, and guys in basket-lifts were properly tied-off. I thought, well, I guess that makes sense since this is such a high-profile job.
The next day, I was in Montague Turners Falls. On Montague City Road, in yet another high profile location (a new commercial building being erected next to the grocery store) I saw the exact opposite. These guys were sheathing the hipped roof on this new building, and ... NO ONE was wearing a hard hat. Everyone was in sneakers. One guy was wearing shorts and two had no shirt (it was about 48 F). There was no toeboard at the bottom of the roof to keep things from sliding down (on about a 4/12 pitch, which isn't really steep, but things still slide off!). Worst of all, no one was tied off to anything. There were no safety harnesses, ropes, lanyards, or anything resembling fall protection. I have a hard time believing that the OSHA requirements for safety in commercial settings apply in Amherst but not Turners Falls. I think if I'd gone over with a camera in hand, everyone would have been off that roof in seconds--which would have been funny, come to think of it!