OSHA has standards and regulations for all employers, no matter what industry they’re a part of. There are, however, a few sectors considered more dangerous than most. For these, OSHA has created industry-specific safety standards all employers must follow. One such industry is construction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 4 percent of all construction workers are injured on the job every year. Due to this high rate of injury, there are numerous OSHA construction safety standards all employers in the industry must follow.
OSHA Construction Safety 101
Some highlights of these OSHA construction safety standards include:
- First aid and medical care must be made available and easily accessible for all employees. If there is no hospital or physician reasonably accessible to the construction site, a person with valid first aid training must be on-site at all times.
- All fire protection equipment must be maintained, and fire extinguishers must be made available. The employer also should have a fire protection program in place.
- All work areas, passageways, and stairwells must be kept clear of scraps, nails, and debris.
- Any combustible debris must be removed regularly, and a safe means for its removal must be provided.
- There should be on-site containers for hazardous or flammable waste. These must be kept separately from other waste and trash, and be fitted with a cover.
- All construction areas, stairs, ramps, shops, storage areas, and offices must be lit with natural or artificial lights while work is in progress.
- Protective equipment and gear must be provided for all employees. This includes equipment for the eyes, face, head, and extremities, as well as protective clothing, respiratory devices, protective shields, and more.
- There must be an adequate supply of water in all places where workers are present. Water containers should be marked as such and used only for water and no other liquids.
- Toilets and urinals must be provided on-site. When there are 20 employees, there must be at least one toilet. For 20 to 200 workers, there must be one toilet and one urinal for every 40 workers. If there are 200 or more workers, there must be a toilet and a urinal for every 50.
- All power tools and equipment must be maintained and kept in good condition. Belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, and other moving parts of these tools must be guarded, to prevent employee contact.
- All scaffolding should be able to support its own weight, as well as at least four times its maximum intended load.
- All ramps and walkways more than six feet above ground must have guard rails in place.
- Any equipment or vehicles left unattended must be fitted with reflectors or lights.
- All vehicles on the site must be equipped to emit a signal when reversing.
There are hundreds more OSHA construction safety standards, covering everything from the demolition of chutes and the use of explosives to on-site cranes and training requirements.
Violations of Standards
Since construction sites are such dangerous places, it’s crucial that employers follow the OSHA construction safety standards to the letter. If they don’t, they may be issued a violation from OSHA, which will require them to amend the issue. If the employer fails to fix the issue, they may be issued additional violations, or they could face fines or jail time.
OSHA has the authority to conduct random inspections and ensure employers are following all safety regulations. They also may conduct inspections in response to employee complaints. Any employee who sees safety hazards or risks on their job site should get in contact with their local OSHA office immediately.After an Injury
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