Make a Resolution for Construction Site Safety in 2017
It’s the time of year when people make resolutions for self-improvement. Why not extend the practice to your business as well? If you have commercial construction projects on your 2017 agenda, the best resolution you can make is to choose a contractor with a commitment to workplace safety to ensure your projects stay on track and reduce your risk.
Construction Site Safety Tips based on Top OSHA Citations for 2016
Every fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the top on-the-job hazards based on violations throughout the year. According to OSHA data, construction represents one of the higher hazard industries that it monitors, noting, “Construction workers engage in many activities that may expose them to serious hazards, such as falling from rooftops, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos.” Here are some tips for mitigating the top construction workplace hazards based on citations issued in 2016.
Fall Protection—The lack of fall protection tops the list, with hazards related to scaffolding and ladders also in the Top 10. In fact, OSHA reports that close to 40 percent of all construction industry deaths are due to preventable falls. To ensure safety, contractors need to:
- Ensure fall arrest systems are in good working order
- Employ guardrails on any unprotected edges that are six feet above a lower level
- Avoid working on scaffolding with ice, water or mud on its surface and never use ladders to increase working height when on a scaffold
- Stay alert to the maximum load of scaffolds to prevent overload
- Train workers on ladder safety and ensure ladders are in good condition and used properly
Personal Protection—Construction sites also contain many hazards that can impact workers vision and respiratory health. A new OSHA rule went into effect in 2016 requiring contractors to:
- Provide face and eye protection—and enforce use by workers—to reduce injuries related to flying dust or asbestos particles, chemicals and other hazards common to welding, sanding, drilling and masonry work
- Make sure eye projection includes side protection when flying object hazards are likely
- Issue hard hats to workers and site visitors to protect against falling objects
- Supply workers with respiratory protection to avoid exposure to asbestos, silica and hazardous dust generated by sawing treated lumber
Hazard Communication—Contractors also need to support safety programs with consistent, clear hazard communication. OSHA recommends that contractors:
- Provide material Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for any hazardous materials being used on site, in multiple languages if needed, to ensure all workers understand the dangers
- Maintain an inventory of all hazardous materials and ensure they have proper warning labels
- Ensure all workers understand safety policies and receive training related to all potential construction hazards
- Conduct routine inspections of the job site, equipment and materials and ensure that workplace safety standards are being followed
Safety programs don’t just benefit the workers; an incident-free workplace keeps your project moving smoothly and mitigates financial risk of legal actions or higher insurance due to on-site injuries. When selecting a residential or commercial construction contractor, make certain that the contractor you choose has a clear commitment to workplace safety and a reputation that backs it up. Just last month, OSHA recertified MV Commercial Construction as a Mobile Workforce Star participant in its Voluntary Protection Programs, writing, “VPP participants serve as models for other employers, workers, and unions by operating excellent safety and health management programs.”
DID YOU KNOW… As of February 28, 2017, Miller-Valentine Construction completed 1,187,914 hours worked without a lost-time accident?
Talk to Miller-Valentine Group to learn how our workplace safety program can have a positive impact on your next construction project. Contact [email protected] today.