The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a U.S. Department of Labor agency, enforces workplace safety standards and regulations for all industries across the country. Under federal law, all entities—whether employer or contractor—must follow OSHA standards.
As a construction worker, it may help you to know these safety standards – especially if you believe they have somehow been violated at your site. You should have access to your workplace’s safety regulations. But, if you do not, OSHA provides accessible online resources about construction sites. Some of their solutions to construction hazards include:
- Ladders – Make sure someone inspects the ladder before use. They should look for structural damage, missing parts, grease or any potentially hidden defects. Someone should clearly label defective ladders.
- Stairways – Stairways are a common source of construction accidents. Correct slippery stairways immediately, free them of obstructing materials and ensure treads cover the step and landing.
- Cranes – Check that the crane’s load is not exceeding its capacity. Inspect chains, rope and the hook for any damage. Avoid moving the load over other workers and maintain a 10-foot (or more) clearance from electrical lines.
- Scaffolding – OSHA reports that around 2.3 million workers use scaffolds at construction sites. Never support scaffolds with unstable objects. Equip the scaffold with appropriate rails and boards. Have a competent worker inspect the scaffold before use. Do not use weakened or damaged accessories on the scaffolding.
The construction industry’s injury rate is above the U.S. average – that includes all industries. Ensuring safe precautions and following OSHA standards for safety may protect you from a fatal accident. If you or someone you know have experienced significant injuries on a construction site, seek help from a physician and consult a legal professional as soon as possible.