According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the construction industry “is a high hazard industry that comprises a broad range of activities involving construction, alteration, and repair.” It is important to understand key aspects of safety in such a labor-intensive field, so we are going to focus on OSHA’s Top 3 Most Frequently Cited Standards in Construction. For each of the following, I will cite the safety standard with a brief explanation to understand the topic further. Additionally, I’d like to write about a few general tips for workers to keep in mind while assessing the following standards.
1. Fall Protection
Unfortunately, fall protection is the most overlooked standard in the construction industry. It is cited the most often, and also is credited with the highest number of fatalities in the industry. Fall protection has to be the number one priority for firms to avoid these tragedies.
To help this issue, workers should always have a thorough knowledge of all fall hazards on the job site. Don’t leave your health to fate, and never work on a job site that hasn’t implemented proper fall protection systems. A valid concern is always checking the integrity of your personal fall arrest system, remembering to check for damages and the length.
It’s not only up to the employee to watch for his or her safety. Employers are required to adhere to a strict code of standards to ensure their team’s safety. They must supply fall protection systems to protect their workers walking on surfaces with unprotected edges.
For a full list of requirements visit Fall Protection Regulations.
Piggy backing off fall protection is the intimidating case of working on large scaffolds. About 65% of field workers will find themselves on a scaffold, performing work around exposed ledges creating falling hazards.
Both the workers on and below the scaffolding are in a dangerous situation. Hard hats should be worn at all times to protect workers from falling objects. Additionally, workers should always wear non-skid work boots and tool lanyards to prevent slips and falls. Recent injuries have been documented working on scaffoldings covered in ice, water or mud. These conditions can diminish the integrity of your work boots and cause dangerous situations.
For a full list of requirements visit Scaffolds Regulations.
3. Stairways and Ladders
I remember learning how to use a ladder when I was just a child, but for some reason seasoned professionals find themselves overconfident and using ladders improperly. Because of this, improper ladder use has turned into one of the leading causes of falls for construction workers. Reasons range from incorrect ladder choice, failure to properly secure the ladder, attempting to carry tools up the ladder, and more!
Workers should always maintain three points of contact while on a ladder, meaning both feet and at least one hand. Portable ladders should be long enough to be placed at a stable angle and extend three feet above the work surface. To avoid sliding, workers should tie their ladders to a secure point on both the top and bottom.
Also, employers should have a competent person inspect all company ladders before use. Defected ladders must always be marked or tagged out of service until fixed or replaced. On top of that, all workers for a firm should be trained in proper ladder safety.
For a complete list of requirements visit Stairways and Ladder Regulations.
For a full list of all regulations, please visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.