The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided construction professionals with an array of resources and materials to help secure worksites and maintain worker safety. As a contractor, you have faced countless challenges throughout your career, especially relating to workplace safety and health. Unfortunately, it can be extremely challenging to keep an entire team of workers on the same page when it comes to safety.
To maintain a safe project site, you need to have a comprehensive strategy for assessing workplace hazards before, during, and after construction. In this three-part series, an OSHA attorney will discuss OSHA’s preferred hazard assessment protocols and provide tips for contractors looking to improve safety on your project site.
Identifying Physical Hazards on the Project Site
When you begin your preliminary hazard assessment, you want to be certain that you have the ability to identify all physical hazards in the workplace. This is a critical step to securing your project site and reducing the chances of one of your workers succumbing to an injury. This initial assessment is vital to your health and safety program and has the potential to locate, highlight, and eliminate physical hazards. Common physical hazards include:
- Moving objects
- Fluctuating temperatures
- High-intensity lighting
- Rolling or pinching objects
- Electrical connections
- Sharp edges
Identifying Health Hazards on the Project Site
Similarly, you must be cognizant of health hazards that, unlike physical hazards, don’t necessarily cause external damage to workers’ bodies. Health hazards aren’t always readily apparent when entering a project site. These hazards are usually difficult to spot because they can be colorless and odorless. Furthermore, these hazards often arise when poorly trained workers make mistakes on the project site. Health hazards commonly include:
- Inhaling harmful dusts
- Direct contact with corrosive chemicals
- Exposure to radiation
The first step to eliminating workplace hazards is recognizing what aspects of your project site present a clear danger to your workers. Once you have located these threats, you can implement a safety plan to remove them or boost your workers’ ability to recognize them so they can avoid a costly mistake. In parts two and three, we will continue to explore OSHA’s insightful hazard assessment strategies.
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.