I recently got a peek at an insurance company’s risk assessment report for construction workers at job sites in Connecticut. The insurance company examined three main categories of risk.
The risk assessor was eager to make sure that no construction workers were sent to job sites without proper PPE (personal protective equipment). The assessor stressed that workers without the right PPE must be denied access to any work site.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules on PPE are always evolving. In just the past year, the agency issued new rules on how to best protect construction workers from exposure to crystalline silica.
Simple requirements like safety glasses, heavy gloves, ear protection, and steel-toed boots go a long way toward protecting workers from the most common construction injuries.
The second part of the risk assessment report discussed keeping job sites clean. Proper housekeeping on a site prevents falls and trip hazards.
I’ve written before about how many construction deaths are called by falls. In 2015, the number of deaths was 364, or almost 40% of all deaths in the construction industry.
Employees should always familiarize themselves with a job site, and make sure there are no fall or trip hazards. Workers should also pay attention to any work going on above them, and not pass directly underneath it unless their employer has provided protective coverings.
3. OSHA Training
The risk assessment report I reviewed was specific to job sites in Connecticut. In that state, construction workers are required by law to get OSHA-10 certification. Without it, supervisors must turn laborers away from the work site.
Nevada, Missouri, and New York also require construction workers to undergo “OSHA-10” (the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry Outreach Program) training.
This program is designed for entry-level construction workers. It’s purpose is to help workers recognize and prevent hazards on a construction site, such as the fall hazards discussed earlier.
Other states require different forms of OSHA training. They include Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The type of training that construction workers must complete in these states depends on the job site’s location. It also depends on the scope of the project in terms of dollars.
More information on OSHA-authorized training can be found here.
The risk assessor’s report put the greatest emphasis on the three safety categories discussed above. But the assessor also stressed other safety issues. Construction firms must keep hand tools and ladders in good condition. Workers must be provided with enough manpower and/or mechanical aides to lift heavy loads. And workers must report any accidents or injuries to their supervisor immediately.
Companies that provide insurance coverage to construction firms want to make sure that workers stay safe. Not only is guaranteeing worker safety the right thing to do. But it also keeps costs low in the form of workers’ compensation and OSHA fines.
Sources: US Of OSHA, OSHA.gov, OSHA.gov/dte
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