Jobsites in five South Dakota counties will be getting some extra attention from the U.S. Department of Labor over the next several months.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is focusing on reducing one of the construction industry’s most dangerous hazards – falls from elevation – and is launching a new initiative to conduct safety investigations in select counties in South Dakota as well as Colorado and Montana.

The 'Weekend Work' initiative calls for increased workplace inspections on Saturdays and Sundays when many employers don't typically monitor their workers.

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OSHA has identified five South Dakota counties for inclusion in the 'Weekend Work' initiative:

  • Brookings County
  • Lincoln County
  • Minnehaha County
  • Pennington County
  • Union County

Those areas, along with ten Colorado counties ( Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, El Paso, Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Larimer, and Weld) and a trio of Montana counties (Yellowstone, Carbon, and Stillwater) have seen a combined ten fatalities and a number of serious construction-related fall injuries over the past five years.

Nationwide last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that falls from elevation led to 351 of the 1,008 deaths among construction workers.

As part of the initiative, OSHA has launched a stop falls website and produced a video to teach workers about hazards and proper safety procedures.

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