Maintaining the safety of your workers is an ever-present challenge on the job site, but if you commit to a proven safety plan, you can avoid the majority of common workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides contractors with a large volume of educational resources to encourage workplace safety.
The most common source of workplace injuries are related to falls, so OSHA has created “Plan, Provide, and Train,” a web page with resources dedicated to teaching contractors how to better implement fall protection strategies for roofing operations. You can prevent falls and save lives by following three straightforward steps.
Step One: Plan
Without an effective plan, it can be nearly impossible to increase safety on your job sites. Contractors should create a safety plan that teaches workers how to use proper equipment, handle materials, and assess situations. You may need to draft multiple versions of this plan to ensure that specialized workers are following guidelines designed to protect them specifically.
Creating your own safety plan that follows OSHA’s rules and regulations can be difficult without the help of an OSHA lawyer to sift through the nearly endless amount of legal documents explaining proper workplace safety measures. For instance, you already know that the pitch of a roof affects the standards for working on a given roof, so plan ahead to ensure that your workers performing tasks on low slope roofs follow 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(10), while workers on steep roofs follow 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(11).
Step Two: Provide
It’s difficult to stay safe while working on a construction site if you don’t have access to the right equipment. Contractors are responsible for providing workers with suitable equipment including fall protection devices such as ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. If you fail to provide your workers with these basic necessities, you will likely be issued a costly OSHA citation and fall behind on your project timeline.
Step Three: Train
There’s little value in hiring untrained workers to help you complete projects. Untrained workers are a liability that compromise profits by failing to follow proper worksite procedures. This commonly results in OSHA citations, costly workplace injuries, and diminished productivity. Your workers should be trained in hazard recognition; care and safe use of equipment like ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other related equipment; and risk assessment and management.
If you want to gain a better understanding of OSHA’s standards for fall protection, read 29 CFR 1926, Subpart M, which details various methods for protecting workers who are exposed to potential falls six feet or greater. By implementing and maintaining a comprehensive safety plan, you can spearhead a renewed emphasis on workplace safety.
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.