May 8 to 12 is the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and June is National Safety Month. Construction falls continue to top the list of most cited OSHA violations. Of the 35,000 citations issued for the top 10 violations last year, fall protection accounted for nearly 7,000 citations or 20 percent.
That number is down slightly from a few years ago, but not much. This number is especially concerning as many firms, agencies and OSHA, have instituted new training, guidelines and regulations to prevent falls. Individuals, supervisors and firms need to do more and be better informed.
To help you focus on improving safety for the next month and beyond, here are some tips for preventing the behaviors that lead to construction site injuries.
Inspect the Site. Recognize the Risks. Make a Plan.
Inspecting and understanding any unusual hazards associated with a site should be completed before any project starts. Here’s a quick list to help you get started.
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of your customer’s EHS expectations and onsite safety procedures.
- Establish a Site-Specific Healthy and Safety Plan (SSHASP) and train your workers on the SSHASP before the project starts.
- Understand fall clearances and determine proper and effective safety equipment.
- Use the hierarchy of risk control.
- Include clear instructions for evacuation procedures and incident reporting as well as the contact information for the local police, fire, and emergency medical services. Also include the phone number and directions to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Have workers sign off that they have received and understand and will comply with the SSHASP.
- Verify that all equipment has been properly inspected prior to arrival at the job site.
- Verify and document that all workers are properly trained and competent on the equipment that they will be using.
- Address dispute resolution in the SSHASP and refer to it should the need arise.
Completing construction projects in a controlled environment with a solid SSHASP can minimize accidents, fines and lost time. For more information on maintaining a safe construction workplace, check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website at OSHA.gov.