Due to the many hazards that lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the construction industry, employers must take essential steps to eliminate and reduce employee exposure to these hazards. An experienced OSHA defense attorney will tell you that it is wise to implement an internal inspection checklist to ensure your job-site is safe and will pass OSHA inspections. In our two-part series, we’ll provide a list of areas that should be a part of your regular internal inspections process. Read Part 2 for the rest of the list.
OSHA’s Inspection Priority
Before beginning your internal inspection, you should know that OSHA places priority over certain types of inspections. These include employee complaints, imminent danger, catastrophes, fatalities, injuries, illnesses, referrals, follow-ups, and targeted inspections.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Implementing an effective PPE program will address the overall health and safety of construction workers and will provide protection for workers’ respiratory system, feet, head, hearing, eyes, and faces. Evaluate job-sites for hazards and upon identifying those hazards, employers should provide workers with the proper PPE and train them in the use of the equipment.
Confined spaces are small areas that construction employees work for brief periods of time. Working in confined spaces such as crawl spaces, bins, pits, manholes, fuel tanks, and so on, place construction workers at risk during emergencies and also expose workers to electrocutions, toxic chemicals, and a lack of ventilation. To ensure confined spaces are in line with OSHA standards employers must:
- Identify the confined spaces
- Evaluate the hazards that may occur within the confined spaces
- If necessary, obtain the required permit
- Perform atmospheric testing
- Ventilate and clean the area
- Have a designated attendant stationed outside of the space for emergency and rescue purposes
According to OSHA Standard 1926.150 Subpart F, employers are required to develop and maintain a fire protection and prevention program that will be effective throughout the entire construction operation. All fire equipment should be inspected and kept in a visible location for easy access in the event of a fire. Portable equipment such as extinguishers and hoses shall be made available as well as water supply.