Construction Exposures OSHA Exposure For Most Businesses Including Those In Construction
Construction industry as well as other employers need to watch key construction safety risks.
Construction industry employers get high scrutiny of their safety and injury experience and practices because of high injury incidents coming from these risks. However, you don’t have to be in the construction industry to be exposed to construction and building related risks that are common source of workplace injury and OSHA citations.
While continuing to keep the heat up on enforcement, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released new and updated educational brochures and a series of new QuickCards it intends to promote worker safety in these and other areas.
With construction and related activities continuing to be a lead source of injuries, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) is taking steps to promote better safety compliance in relation to construction and other common accident sources as well as continuing to zealously enforce OSHA citations and other remedies against businesses breaching these and other safety responsibilities. As virtually all employers, including but not limited to those in construction or similar industries have workers performing construction related tasks, all employers should check the updated and existing safety requirements involving these actions and take other steps to manage these and other highlighted exposures.
Construction, Other Safety Education & Resources Updated
Focusing on worker safety in the construction, general and maritime industries, OSHA recently released new and updated educational brochures and a series of new QuickCards on worker safety. These materials available here include workers’ rights, employer rights and responsibilities following an OSHA inspection, construction industry digest, small entity compliance guide for respiratory protection standard and laboratory safety guidance. These new resources are part of a broad range of worker health and safety guides, standards and related materials published by OSHA covering a broad range of industries.
The emphasis on these industries is based in part on the high injury incidence in these businesses. OSHA statistics show that of 4,070 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2010, one-fifth (751 or 18.5%) were in construction. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were: falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught–in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for nearly three out of five (57%) construction worker deaths in 2010:
- Falls – 260 out of 751 total deaths in construction in CY 2010 (35%)
- Electrocutions – 76 (10%)
- Struck by Object – 63 (8%)
- Caught-in/between – 32 (4%)
Employers of workers involved in construction, general and maritime industries also frequently are found to have committed violations that fall within the Top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violated in FY2010:
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
- Machines, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212)
Construction industry and other employers should review safety practices and compliance for compliance with these and all other standards and to address other potential safety risks to minimize OSHA and other occupational injury related liabilities. and ensure their documentation of these efforts meets OSHA requirements and also positions the employer to defend against potential sanctions in the event of an employee injury or OSHA audit.
Because of the heavy use of subcontractors in these industries, employers also should be aware of potential exposures that can result from other businesses and workers on site.
In addition, employers should take care to ensure that all required documentation of safety practices and notifications dictated by OSHA are maintained and properly preserved.
In the event of an accident or other safety hazard event, employers also should engage counsel and other needed experts to timely investigate, provide notification and redress and manage resulting exposures under OSHA, worker’s compensation and other laws.
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Immediate past Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current Co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Vice-Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefits Committee and past Vic e-Chair of its Worker’s Compensation Committee, a council member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, and past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Ms. Stamer is recognized, internationally, nationally and locally for her more than 24 years of work, advocacy, education and publications on health and other employee benefit and related workforce, insurance and health care matters.
A board certified labor and employment attorney widely known for her extensive and creative knowledge and experienced with employment, health and safety, employee benefits, compensation and other internal controls and workforce matters. She has 24 plus years experience helping employer and other clients develop and operate legally defensible programs, practices and policies that promote the client’s human resources, employee benefits and other management goals. Ms. Stamer also is a widely published author and highly regarded speaker on these and other human resources matters who is active in many other employee benefits, human resources and other management focused organizations.
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