Working with Electricity: Our Industry’s Greatest Risk

Electricity is among the most serious workplace hazards, exposing workers to the risk of electric shock, electrocution, burns, fires, and explosions. Of all the occupational fatalities that occurred from 2003-2010, more than 1,700 of those were due to contact with electric current, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. The construction industry had the ... [Continue Reading]

4 Things to Know About Confined Space Entry

Storage tanks, manholes, tunnels — confined spaces pose particular occupational safety risks. By design, confined spaces have limited access points and ventilation, and are not intended for workers to occupy for long periods of time. Not only is there danger of entrapment because the tight quarters affect how workers can enter, exit, and work in these spaces, there’s also the ... [Continue Reading]

Training Is Key to Aerial Lift Safety

Aerial lifts, or any vehicle-mounted device used to elevate workers, have replaced ladders and scaffolding on many construction sites due to their mobility and flexibility. We see them, in fact, in many places—cherry picker platforms, bucket trucks, extendable boom platforms, aerial ladders, and vertical towers. Like ladders, scaffolds, or any other equipment that assists ... [Continue Reading]

How to Report Construction Accidents and Incidents to OSHA

Construction accidents are declining, and that’s good news for all of us in the industry. In the past four decades, workplace fatalities have decreased by more than 65 percent, and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent, according to OSHA. Still, plenty of accidents happen on construction sites — and employers need to know what steps to take when they ... [Continue Reading]

Creating a Drug-Free Workplace Policy for Your Construction Site

Substance abuse costs U.S. employers more than $6 billion per year, including costs for lost productivity and related health and crime issues, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Surveys have found that about 75 percent of adult illicit-drug users are employed, and the construction industry, in particular, has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse — ... [Continue Reading]

How to Minimize Back Injuries on Construction Sites

Workers’ compensation tops the list of concerns for contractors. And it’s no wonder, considering that employee injuries cost U.S. businesses more than a billion dollars in workers’ comp costs each week, according to the 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Injuries mean time away from work and sometimes painful rehabilitation. On construction sites, back injuries are ... [Continue Reading]

The Buck Stops with the Competent Person

On a construction site, every worker is responsible for his or her own safety. But anyone can make careless mistakes, especially if they haven’t been trained properly — or the person in charge hasn’t been trained properly. Ultimately, the responsibility of keeping workers safe falls to what OSHA calls the designated “competent person” on site. Usually this person is the ... [Continue Reading]

Fall Protection Systems: Keeping Workers Safe from Falls

In an earlier post, we discussed fall prevention — one of the most important workplace safety issues and one of the 10 most violated safety standards, according to OSHA. You may recall that more construction workers die each year from falls off ladders, scaffolds, and roofs than anything else. In this post, we’ll look more in-depth at one of the best ways to prevent fall ... [Continue Reading]

New Hazard Communication Standards: What You Need to Know

Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing U.S. workers today. And to help contractors and workers better understand the hazards and safety measures associated with chemicals in their workplace, OSHA recently revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The latest HCS updates — which went into effect December 1, 2013 — give workers not only ... [Continue Reading]

Ladder Safety in Three Steps

In my years of doing site inspections, I’ve seen all kinds of ladder violations: people working too high on ladders, leaning A-frame ladders against the wall, extension ladders being tied off or several feet above a landing. All of these are violations of OSHA regulations. Our last post told you about OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, a ... [Continue Reading]