OSHA estimates that 3,945 workers died in 2012, 775 or 19.6 percent of whom were working in the construction industry when they experienced accidents linked to falls, struck-by objects, electrocution and caught-in/between hazards also known as the Fatal Four. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three out of these fatal four accidents were linked to Construction deaths.
But do these needless accidents and injuries have to happen? Per OSHA, if workplaces strive to prevent these Fatal Four, 435 workers’ lives will be saved annually. How can employers accomplish this? It’s by ensuring strict compliance with OSHA standards and regulations, training employees, and creating a culture of safety.
The 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1926 is the OSHA Standard governing the Construction industries. The CFR is basically a codification of all OSHA standards (the 29 CFR 1926 is one of these codes); each volume is updated every year. The code encompasses everything employers and workers need to know about the Construction industry, from operating cranes and forklifts to fall protection and material handling to name a few.
One can refer to OSHA’s Outreach Training (which students can take online or in a classroom) which is voluntary and helps employees to gain a basic understanding of the hazards found on a jobsite and knowledge of the requirements for the 29 CFR 1926. Basically, construction employees need to obtain a deeper understanding of the following concepts and aspects of Construction, and that they apply these skills effectively while on the job to reduce risk and save lives. By understanding the hazards associated with construction OSHA’s aim was to reduce injury and fatality rates.
Let’s take a look at a few of following sample training topics from OSHA 30 hour construction, what they’re about and the standards associated with them:
Recordkeeping – 1926.1091
The requirements for recordkeeping are the same as those enforced by 1910.440 for the general industries. The standard requires employers to record the circumstances of any accidents at the workplace. Records of such incidences shall be kept at the workplace and should be made available at the request of any health or safety, or OSHA compliance officer.
Health Hazards: Hazard Communication – 1926.59
The provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard for construction work is similar with the one for the general industries (29 CFR 1910.1200). The standard is basically concerned with the proper labeling and the proper use of safety data sheets for reference when it comes to handling and transporting chemicals. Currently, OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard has been aligned with the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, more commonly known as GHS.
Health Hazards: Hazardous Materials – 1926.65
OSHA’s Hazardous Materials is the standard that covers operations that require workers to handle hazardous waste at clean-up operations and for emergency response, whether voluntary, federal sites, or privately-operated ones.
Personal Protective Equipment – 1926 Subpart E, 1926.28, 1926.95
The provisions of the standard for personal protective equipment establishes the requirement for the use of personal protective equipment and clothing at Construction sites, and enforces the provision of PPE to workers as a strict employer obligation.
For a complete copy of OSHA’s standards for Construction, visit OSHA’s dedicated page for it. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owastand.display_standard_group?p_part_number=1926&p_toc_level=1.