You are certainly aware that health and safety are crucial components on any construction site. Placing focus and constant attention on factors that might introduce risk or hazards to the site is a top priority for not only the company and the site managers, but for every worker involved. And this constant effort pertaining to safety awareness isn’t merely a recommendation—It is a requirement, and for good reason.
And while there are safety measures you might put in place yourself, whether because of experience or the uniqueness of your construction site, there are also guidelines that you must have in place. Think of them as a checklist for everything you need to have in place to make your construction site operate smoothly, efficiently, and (most importantly) safely. And this checklist doesn’t begin when the workers show up. Rather, these are pre-construction steps that should be planned out in advance, so that all aspects of your job site are ready to hit the ground running when day one arrives.
This pre-construction checklist should be catered to your business, but its framework is provided by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or more commonly referred to as OSHA.
Benefits to Remaining Compliant with OSHA
When beginning your pre-construction checklist, and going through the list of OSHA construction standards, it’s important to remember why these standards are put in place to begin with. After all, these aren’t just guidelines for the sake of guidelines. They are measures put in place based on years of research and construction site monitoring and are designed to keep your workers safe and your job site free of hazardous risk.
Safety is always the top priority when it comes to OSHA standards for construction. But OSHA safety guidelines for construction also protect you and your company should something go wrong. For instance, by eliminating safety hazards before the job begins, and preventing accidents from occuring, you are setting yourself up to reduce workers’ compensation costs that could arise.
Or further, by keeping compliant with OSHA standards for construction, you will avoid costly fees or fines, as well as ongoing inspections of your jobsite. You should know that OSHA can inspect your workplace without notice, and this type of inspection usually follows a complaint made by a worker or a jobsite manager. If your jobsite is compliant, then your workers are less likely to file complaints, since their safety has been prioritized. On the other hand, even if a complaint is filed and an OSHA inspector arrives, you will avoid being in violation if you have been sure to maintain your compliance.
For these reasons, among others, it is important to know how you are going to implement OSHA safety guidelines for construction as they pertain to your jobsite specifically. This needs to be done ahead of time, when you are putting the rest of your pre-construction checklist together. This is as important as the materials you are going to order, the permits you are going to secure, and all other factors that go along with planning for a construction job. Don’t think this can wait until everything else is in place. At that point, it might be too late.
OSHA Safety Guidelines for Construction
While every jobsite is unique, there are OSHA construction standards that need to be considered across the board. Some of them might pertain to your site, and some might not, but they need to all be considered as part of your pre-construction checklist so you know which permits you need to acquire, measures and preventative steps you need to take, etc.
OSHA construction safety requirements that come at the top of the organization’s list are related to potential hazards. For example, falls are consistently the most reported cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Therefore, OSHA construction standards dictate that if you have employees working six or more feet above a lower level, you must provide fall protection.
Other factors that are included within the OSHA safety guidelines for construction are such items as ladders, stairways, and scaffolding. All of these are common on job sites, and all come with their own level of heightened risk. OSHA has standards in place for how these items are to be utilized, and provide a great number of details that you should consider if any of these types of elevation are required for your construction site.
Additionally, height and elevation are not the only focus you should consider in your pre-construction checklist. There are factors like electricity, and the best way for wires and power boxes to be contained. Another common requirement on a construction site is the use of vehicles or transportation, which doesn’t only apply to workers getting to and from a location, but the movement of materials and operational standards around doing so safely.
The List Goes On
There are other safety hazards that you might not think of at first, such as keping necessary lines of communication open. As part of your pre-construction checklist, you need to be sure that communication across the construction site is possible. But communication means more than discussion and logistical planning. Communication means that managers and planners need to make workers aware of everything they are going to come in contact with on the jobsite.
For instance, are there hazardous chemicals that might be prevalent? These types of things need to be shared with everyone involved, and included in the pre-construction checklist so nothing slips through the cracks.
Hazardous chemicals are also examples of hazards to long-term health. OSHA construction safety isn’t just about keeping workers and managers safe while on the construction site, but preventing long-term damage as well. After all, they are focused on safety and health, not one or the other.
Construction Management Services
OSHA provides safety guidelines for construction to make it easy to know what you need, how to implement it, and keep your jobsite safe and secure. However, there is no denying that these standards come with a great deal of information, and when you are focused on various other aspects of pre-construction planning, sometimes things slip through the cracks.
At EAD, we know the ins and outs of the construction industry, as our expertise has provided us the insights to not only get the job done, but get it done safely. Let us help you plan for your next construction project, so you can stay on-time, on-budget, and compliant with all health and safety regulations along the way.