Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs. According to OSHA, in 2011, more than 17% of all workplace fatalities happened on a construction site, totaling 4,114 construction site deaths that year.
Many of these workplace fatalities were due to construction site violations, construction site safety rules set forth by OSHA that -- if followed -- could have prevented these accidents and fatalities from occurring.
To minimize the risks of injury at your job site, it's important to implement safety training measures and processes specifically designed for the hazards and risks posed by construction work.
Provided below are the top four OSHA violations for construction sites.
1. Fall Protection
In 2012, OSHA reported a total of 7,250 fall safety infractions, making it the most commonly cited construction site violation. These violations also come with the highest penalties. Oftentimes, these fall accidents happen due to the absence of safety equipment like harnesses or other fall protection. Here's how implement fall protection in your workplace:
It's an absolute must to keep floors clean and dry so they are not wet or slippery.
Employers must set up the workplace to prevent falls from overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor or walls.
OSHA requires employers to set up fall protection if there's work over a dangerous piece of equipment, no matter how high the distance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 72% of scaffolding-related injuries result from weak platforms giving way or from people falling off of them. What are the biggest "don'ts"� when working on scaffolding safety measures?
The most common violation of scaffolds is using them for ladders, so never use scaffolding for climbing or scaling.
Scaffold platforms should be fully decked or planked and they should be able to support four times the supposed maximum load it is made to carry.
Scaffolding should be constructed on a stable surface, ideally secured to the actual building to prevent tipping.
Toeboards, guardrails, catch platforms or debris nets prevent workers from falling and workers below from falling objects
Although ladders are relatively easy to use and understand, they are involved in too many workplace accident and construction site violations. Many times, ladder safety is compromised because the wrong one is used for the job, it wasn't inspected before use or workers get careless with how they use it.
Be sure the ladders you are using are in good condition and not missing any parts.
Use the correct ladder for the correct job, keeping in mind a ladder's height and weight limits.
Never use a metal ladder near live electrical wires.
Never use ladders in the place of platforms, scaffolds, skids or braces.
4. Powered Industrial Trucks
Powered industrial trucks like forklifts or lift trucks are used to move materials. The most common hazards present with powered industrial trucks depend on the type of vehicle, but violations usually include inadvertently driving the truck off a loading dock, workers being struck by a truck and loading accident. There are general best practices to ensure a safe work environment:
Be sure each powered industrial truck operator has been trained and has obtained the right certification to operate a vehicle.
Conduct regular inspections prior to operating a powered industrial truck, with any defective equipment put out of use until repaired.