OSHA safety and health regulations have, since 1970, the ultimate goal of making the workplace safer for all construction workers, and should be vital knowledge for those who work in the construction industry.
While there are more OSHA regulations existing than what the average construction worker, manager, or owner could ever memorize, a few do manage to stand out not only because of their importance and relevance to everyday tasks, but also for their impact on the worker’s health and wellness. These few are listed below, however, do keep in mind that there are quite a number of other regulations that are equally as important to ensure employee safety while at the workplace.
Fall Protection (OSHA 1926.0501)
The most common citation issued to the construction industry as a whole, fall protection fines have amounted to over $20 million in 2014 alone from over 7,000 citations – an alarming amount considering that OSHA-related fines for the same year from the entire construction industry amounted to $61 million. Falls also account for almost 37% of the total deaths in construction in the same year, which clearly indicates that there is a dire need for construction workers and business owners to absolutely abide by this regulation.
Training Requirements (OSHA 1926.0503)
Employees in the construction industry must be trained on the proper use of the entire range of machines and equipment that they may encounter on the job. They must use correct and proper safety equipment, be fully aware of ladder safety, and follow the general job site safety guidelines at the workplace as imposed by OSHA. Also, construction industry workers must understand and satisfactorily execute appropriate measures when dealing with or managing dangerous or hazardous materials. Training courses, such as the Hazwoper training, are designed to help employees both old and new to understand these important safety requirements.
Ladder Safety (OSHA 1926.1053)
About 7% or over $4 million of the total penalties issued by OSHA to construction companies in 2014 was attributed to ladder safety. This regulation is of great importance for the construction industry as not following it would result not only to heavy fines, but also to falls, and possibly electrocution risks. It comes as no surprise that ladders are considered to be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment commonly used in job sites today.
Asbestos Safety (OSHA 1926.1101)
Violations for asbestos safety is relatively much lower than fall protection or ladder safety concerns. However, understanding it is very important in order to avoid putting workers’ lives in danger in the long run by placing them at risk for exposure to asbestos. A number of reliable organizations offer training courses on asbestos safety, which provide employees with the skills and knowledge on how to deal with asbestos-related concerns at the job site.
Workplace safety is the responsibility of the business owner, and so is making sure that employees are trained sufficiently to be able to work effectively and productively while avoiding construction accidents. By following the safety rules and regulations for the construction industry as set by OSHA, accidents and devastating financial losses in the form of fines can be avoided.