Construction sites are filled with hazardous materials and substances that can potentially injure, maim, or even kill workers. Safety is a constant concern for contractors because workplace injuries slow down production and decrease profitability. Plus, inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are eager to issue citations to contractors who fail to maintain a high level of workplace safety that falls in line with federal rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, workplace hazards will always be present on your project site; it’s an unavoidable truth of the construction industry. However, by planning ahead and performing a comprehensive hazard assessment, you can greatly reduce the chance of one of your valued workers taking a ride to the emergency room.
Our OSHA attorneys discussed various physical and health hazards that must be identified before, during, and after construction in part one. Now, we will explore the hazard assessment process before discussing the post-assessment process in part three.
Beginning Your Hazard Assessment
When you discuss the safety of your project sites with OSHA lawyers, they will commonly suggest that you partake in a walkthrough survey of your project sites so you can draft a list of potential workplace hazards before construction begins. It’s important to establish a list of identifiers and categories to organize potential hazards clearly for use throughout your project. Generally, contractors utilize the following categories to describe potential hazards:
- Compression (roll-over)
- Harmful dust
- Light (optical) radiation
In addition, you should take notes about the basic layout of the project site, examine historical documents associated with your land, and review your workers’ past illnesses and injuries.
7 Things to Look For During Your Initial Assessment
When you take your first step onto the project site, you should be cognizant of potential hazards including:
- Sources of electricity
- Sources of motion like machines or processes that involve movement that could trigger a harmful impact between workers and equipment
- Sources of extreme temperatures that could lead to burns, eye injuries, fire, or other heat-related injuries
- Types of chemicals utilized on the project site
- Sources of harmful dusts or other respiratory hazards
- Sources of light radiation including light produced from welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, heat treating, and high-intensity lights
- Potential sources of falling or dropping objects
- Sharp objects with the potential to poke, cut, stab, or puncture
- Biologic hazards including blood, plasma, or other potentially infectious materials
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.