10 Construction Site Safety Tips
Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compiles a list of the 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards. This list isn’t pulled out of thin air; it is based on data and recommended/enforced construction site safety tips.
While this is across the entirety of workplaces covered by OSHA, the list for Construction is fairly similar.
While the list doesn’t change much from one year to the next, either in composition or number of citations – it is still imperative you know them, as well as top construction site safety tips.
While OSHA’s list may not change drastically, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to avoid citations by practicing proper site safety.
Construction Site Safety Tips: Standards & How to Apply Them
Here are the top 10 standards when it comes to construction site safety. Each is followed by a tip to improve construction site safety and protect your workers from unnecessary injury.
1. 501 – Duty to Have Fall Protection:
Failing to have the proper fall protection is the most cited standard. It’s also – as we covered in a recent article – one of the leading causes of fatalities.
Properly assess the job sites, and reassess as the project develops.
Changing situations on the job site can dictate changes to the type of fall protection necessary.
If you don’t account for these changes, you may have employees working with improper height safety equipment, or none at all.
Guardrails and toeboards, safety net systems, and personal fall arrest systems are the main three methods of prevention or fall arrest.
Also, don’t forget about holes such as skylights and elevator shafts as well.
2. 451 – Scaffolds – General Requirements:
The “General Requirements” section is wide-ranging and includes issues from equipment and clothing, to proper ways of climbing the scaffolding.
The number one tip for ensuring adherence to the standard for employers is having a well-trained, competent employee erect the scaffolding and inspect it prior to use on a daily basis. This will ensure that the scaffolding avoids power lines, is built on solid footing, has the correct planking, and is equipped with a guardrail.
This will ensure that:
- the scaffolding avoids power lines is built on solid footing, has the correct planking, and is equipped with a guardrail,
- is built on solid footing, has the correct planking and is equipped with a guardrail,
- and is equipped with a guardrail, midrails, and toeboards that can prevent falls or drops.
3. 1053 – Ladders:
It can be difficult to police ladder use, but as an employer, making sure the ladders are in top shape can is crucial. Read this article for a refresher on ladder safety
Have a competent, trained employee inspect all ladders before use, marking and removing all defective ladders.
Make sure any ladder that is not 100% compliant and safe is kept out of the rotation until they have been properly repaired.
Furthermore, ensure workers are trained in ladder safety and selection before they are on your job site.
4. 503 – Fall Protection – Training Requirements:
It is the full responsibility of the employer to make sure that every employee that could potentially be exposed to fall hazards is properly trained.
In the construction industry, this should be all employees.
One of the main reasons for violating this citation is the failure to maintain proper certification for records of fall planning.
Proper training, coupled with construction site safety retraining, can ensure construction site safety tips and rules are adhered to.
5. 102 – Eye and Face Protection:
As an employer, it is your duty to provide eye and face protection, free of charge.
They need to meet at least one of the current consensus standards. They also need to be issued based on an assessment of anticipated hazards.
Make sure the eye and face protection you are issuing follows all of the latest standards. The goggles you provide should be the right fit for the specific task at hand.
6. 100 – Head Protection:
Just as with eye and face protection, head protection also must be provided to all employees, free of charge.
They must meet the consensus standards outlined by the American National Standards Institute.
Ensuring proper head protection is an absolute must. We recommend you have employees leave their hard hats in a centralized location when possible, checking them in and out every day.
This allows you to track who may be failing to wear their hard hats.
Additionally, by having them in one spot, you can have a staff member inspect them on a regular basis. Have them check for heavy wear and tear, which would indicate the hard hat needs to be replaced.
7. 1200 – Toxic and Hazardous Substances – Hazard Communication:
There are plenty of toxins on work sites, some more obvious than others.
As an employer, there are plenty of regulations as to the labeling of hazardous chemicals.
You should strive to go above and beyond that, as some of these substances can have serious long-term effects.
We suggest incorporating a reminder into the daily activities of your employees regarding hazardous substances they may encounter that day.
Also, remind them that the appropriate MSDS sheets are available for consultation (obviously make sure they are!).
Too often violations are committed – not because employers don’t care – but because we take some of these rules for granted because they can be ‘annoying’.
Don’t worry about annoying your team with a safety meeting here or a seemingly-obvious reminder there. Construction site safety tips are reiterated constantly for a reason.
8. 020 – General Safety and Health Provisions:
This catch-all standard protects workers from being required to “work in surrounding or under working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to health or safety.” This can involve anything from a substandard safety
This can involve anything from a substandard safety program to unforeseen miscellaneous hazards on the job site. Our tip is to employ or train a worker to inspect the tools and machines being used and to recognize when one has become non-compliant. Many workers will continue to use a tool or machine beyond this point, but your specialist could inspect these on a daily basis and remove them or lock them out as needed.
Employ and train a worker to inspect the tools and machines being used and to recognize when one has become non-compliant.
Many workers will continue to use a tool or machine beyond this point, but your specialist should inspect these on a daily basis and remove or lock them out as needed.
9. 453 – Scaffolds – Aerial Lifts:
These specialized machines require advanced training, as workers can encounter a variety of potentially dangerous issues.
Unfortunately, as often as workers pay attention to the space in which they are working and the lift itself, many forget that the base of the lift can become an issue.
Before lifts are put into use, have a worker inspect the area where they will be used. They should report and/or fix potential issues.
Holes, slopes, ditches, and unstable flooring surfaces can all cause a lift to tip.
10. 502 – Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices:
It may seem like we are harping on fall protection, but it’s for good reason.
Create a fall protection plan for the job site before any employee steps foot onto it.
Map out what methods are to be used in specific areas. Post signs for controlled access zones and
Post signs for controlled access zones, specific as to who may and may not enter.
If safety monitoring is to be used, review the rules with the safety monitor thoroughly.
By following these ten prominent construction site safety tips you can reduce the potential of receiving an OSHA citation on a visit.
More importantly, you will reduce the potential dangers facing your employees and fellow workers. While the goal of operating a business is to turn a profit, you owe it to your employees and their families to protect them, sending them home safe and sound at the end of every day.