Have your project sites been continually targeted by inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? If your answer is yes, you need to improve your process for assessing workplace hazards. If your projects are constantly losing profits as a result of workplace injuries or OSHA citations, your career as a contractor could be in jeopardy. It’s time to act!
In parts one and two, our OSHA defense attorneys identified physical and health hazards commonly found on project sites and provided guidelines for contractors who need to improve their preliminary hazard assessments. Now, we will discuss the steps you should take after completing your initial walkthrough.
After your preliminary walkthrough and survey are complete, you should collect, organize, and analyze your data so you can begin developing a safety plan. This plan will include, among other things, the proper types of personal protective equipment (PPE) best suited to your project site.
There are many types of PPE available, so it’s imperative that you select the equipment that will best serve your workers on the project in question. PPE is organized by type and level of protection. Therefore, in addition to selecting the proper PPE, you must select the proper grade of PPE so your workers have the right level of protection if a piece of falling debris strikes them from above.
As a rule of thumb, you should always purchase PPE that is a few grades above the level of protection you think your project will require. This effectively gives you a buffer zone to minimize potential workplace hazards. Utilizing the minimum required level of PPE can lead to injury despite being appropriately rated for your project.
Perform Ongoing Inspections
As you proceed with your construction project, you should periodically assess the construction site for changes in conditions, equipment, or operating procedures that can result in occupational hazards. For example, after inclement weather, you should reassess the project site to ensure that new hazards, such as puddles, toppled equipment, and exposed wiring are mitigated to preserve the safety of your workforce. For a more thorough assessment, review your records of injury and illness from your current project to see if any trends have indicated a clear hazard on you construction site and evaluate the condition and age of all active PPE.
When OSHA comes knocking, you’ll want to have documentation on hand that outlines the details and findings of your last hazard assessment including identification of the workplace evaluated, the name of the person performing the evaluation, date of the assessment, and identification of the document certifying completion of the hazard assessment.
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.