OSHA citations can be costly for construction companies of all sizes. Some types of citations require the jobsite to shut down until you can resolve the safety concerns identified in the citation. In this editorial, a Charlotte construction lawyer gives you seven strategies for reducing your risk of receiving an OSHA citation so that your company can continue growing while maintaining a safe work environment.
1) Create a Safety Plan
Before the start of any construction project, it’s a good idea to create a safety plan specific to the jobsite. This includes addressing hazards, such as potentially dangerous construction equipment, that are unique to the project. Furthermore, there needs to be a task sheet in place that addresses who will be responsible for conducting daily safety inspections of the site. While you can use past safety plans as a starting point, it’s important to consider the unique challenges and concerns of each project to ensure that you have the safety equipment, training, and plan in place to keep everyone safe.
2) Safety Training for Workers
Employee safety training is critical to reducing the risk of injury on jobsites and should address ways to avoid the most common types of injuries reported to OSHA. Your company is not obligated to provide any training to subcontractors; however, providing everyone access to safety training can reduce risk. Consult with an Asheville contractor attorney to ensure that any safety training you provide to workers complies with OHSA regulations.
3) Prevent Falls
Falls are one of the most common accidents within the construction industry, with fall protection being the most frequently cited OSHA standard violated. To prevent a citation, your company should do whatever it can to protect workers from falling. This includes safety training, signage, and having the right equipment in place for ladders and scaffolding.
4) Invest in Personal Protective Equipment
Having access to effective personal protective equipment (PPE) can make a big difference in reducing the likelihood of injuries on construction jobsites. OSHA will expect to see PPE available during site inspections. No matter the cost, PPE is certainly less expensive than fighting an OSHA citation or lawsuit. If you have any questions about how PPE can reduce your liability on construction sites, call an Asheville construction lawyer to discuss any concerns you may have.
5) Hire Experienced Workers
Independent contractors and less experienced employees may be more likely to be injured on the jobsite because they may not know the right way to perform specific tasks. Hiring experienced workers who have completed similar projects in the past could reduce risk, as they have a track record of safely performing the job. If a candidate has a history of frequent injuries on past jobsites, they may not follow safety guidelines or perform other required actions. You simply don’t want these types of workers on your projects.
6) Open Lines of Communication
Maintaining open lines of communication between staff and management can help reduce OSHA citations by encouraging employees to come to you when something is amiss. If they notice that tools or equipment are not working as needed, they should feel comfortable that project managers will be receptive to replacing tools. If workers notice that someone on your team is not following established safety protocols, there should be an open door policy in place that allows workers to communicate this to management.
7) Prepare for Inspections
OSHA inspections are a necessary part of the construction industry, so your company and team should always be prepared for when OSHA comes knocking. Everyone should become familiar with OSHA regulations and what inspectors are looking for on jobsites. There is no reason to fear inspections when you partner with an Asheville construction attorney who can help align your site operations with OSHA safety guidelines.
OSHA makes safety checklists available through its website and mobile apps. You can proactively and regularly check that everyone on your jobsite is complying with OSHA guidelines. Empower your management team and workers alike by informing them of what OSHA expects from them. It’s easier to pass inspections when you know that everything is as it should be.
OSHA citations are serious. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your company’s risk of receiving fines. If your construction company receives an OSHA citation, schedule a consultation with a Charlotte construction law firm as soon as possible. The sooner you resolve an OSHA citation, the sooner you can minimize its impact and focus on completing the task at hand.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.