OSHA Pocket Guide
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
WORKER SAFETY SERIES
Nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.
Potential hazards for workers in construction include:
Occupational Safety and
U.S. Department of Labor
For construction, the 10 OSHA standards most frequently included in the agency's citations in FY 2004 were:
Hazard: When scaffolds are not erected or used properly, fall hazards can occur. About 2.3 million construction workers frequently work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent an estimated 4,500 injuries and 50 fatalities each year.
Hazard: Each year, falls consistently account for the greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry. A number of factors are often involved in falls, including unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment and human error. Studies have shown that using guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and restraint systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls.
Hazard: Ladders and stairways are another source of injuries and fatalities among construction workers. OSHA estimates that there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used in construction. Nearly half of these injuries were serious enough to require time off the job.
Hazard: Slips, trips and falls on stairways are a major source of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.
Hazard: Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year. Trenching deaths rose in 2003.
SLOPING. Maximum allowable slopes for excavations less than 20 ft. (6.09 m) based on soil type and angle to the horizontal are as follows:
TABLE V:2-1. ALLOWABLE SLOPES
|Soil type||Height/Depth ratio||Slope angle|
(granite or sandstone)
|Type A (short-term)
(For a maximum excavation depth of 12 ft.)
Source: OSHA Technical Manual, Section V, Chap. 2, Excavations: Hazard Recognition in Trenching and Shoring (Jan. 1999).
Hazard: Significant and serious injuries may occur if cranes are not inspected before use and if they are not used properly. Often these injuries occur when a worker is struck by an overhead load or caught within the crane's swing radius. Many crane fatalities occur when the boom of a crane or its load line contact an overhead power line.
Hazard: Failure to recognize the hazards associated with chemicals can cause chemical burns, respiratory problems, fires and explosions.
Hazard: Approximately 100 employees are fatally injured and approximately 95,000 employees are injured every year while operating powered industrial trucks. Forklift turnover accounts for a significant number of these fatalities.
Hazard: Serious head injuries can result from blows to the head.
The following checklists may help you take steps to avoid hazards that cause injuries, illnesses and fatalities. As always, be cautious and seek help if you are concerned about a potential hazard.
Floor and Wall Openings
Most resource materials can be found on the OSHA website: www.osha.gov
Publications can be downloaded or ordered at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html
A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry
OSHA Publication 3150 (Revised 2002), 2.1 MB PDF, 73 pages.
Booklet in question-and-answer format highlights information about scaffold safety.
Concrete and Masonry Construction
OSHA Publication 3106 (Revised 1998), 414 KB PDF, 32 pages.
Details information on OSHA's Concrete and Masonry standard.
Crystalline Silica Exposure Card for Construction
OSHA Publication 3177 (Revised 2002), 2 pages.
Discusses silica hazards, and what employers and employees can do to protect against exposures to silica.
A Spanish version is also available. OSHA Publication 3179 (Revised 2003), 2 pages.
OSHA Publication 2226 (Revised 2002), 533 KB PDF, 44 pages.
A detailed explanation of all aspects of excavation and trenching.
Ground-Fault Protection on Construction Sites
OSHA Publication 3007 (Revised 1998), 100 KB PDF, 31 pages.
Booklet on ground-fault circuit interrupters for safe use of portable tools.
Lead in Construction
OSHA Publication 3142 (Revised 2003), 610 KB PDF, 38 pages.
Describes hazards and safe work practices concerning lead.
OSHA Assistance for the Residential Construction Industry
Many OSHA standards apply to residential construction for the prevention of possible fatalities. This web page provides information about those standards and the hazards present in residential construction. It was developed in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as part of the OSHA-NAHB Alliance.
Selected Construction Regulations (SCOR) for the Home Building Industry (29 CFR 1926)
OSHA Publication (Revised 1997), 1.2 MB PDF, 224 pages.
Provides information on safe and healthful work practices for residential construction employers; identifies OSHA standards applicable to hazards found at worksites in the residential construction industry.
Stairways and Ladders
OSHA Publication 3124 (Revised 2003), 155 KB PDF, 15 pages.
Explains OSHA requirements for stairways and ladders.
Working Safely in Trenches
OSHA Publication 3243 (2005), 2 pages.
Provides safety tips for workers in trenches. A Spanish version is on the reverse side.
Safety and Health Topics: Crane, Derrick and Hoist Safety -- Hazards and Possible Solutions
December 2003. One page.
OSHA website index provides references to aid in identifying crane, derrick and hoist hazards in the workplace.
Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
OSHA Publication 3120 (Revised 2002), 174 KB PDF, 45 pages.
This booklet presents OSHA's general requirements for controlling hazardous energy during service or maintenance of machines or equipment.
Controlling Electrical Hazards
OSHA Publication 3075 (Revised 2002), 349 KB PDF, 71 pages.
This publication provides an overview of basic electrical safety on the job.
Safety and Health Topics: Lockout/Tagout
OSHA website index to information about lockout/ tagout, including hazard recognition, compliance, standards and directives, Review Commission and Administrative Law Judge Decisions, standard interpretations and compliance letters, compliance assistance and training.
Hazard Communication: Foundation of Workplace Chemical Safety Programs
OSHA website index for resources on hazard communication.
Frequently Asked Questions for Hazard Communication
OSHA, 6 pages.
Website questions and answers on hazard communication.
Hazard Communication Guidelines for Compliance
OSHA Publication 3111 (2000), 112 KB PDF, 33 pages.
This document aids employers in understanding the Hazard Communication standard and in implementing a hazard communication program.
Chemical Hazard Communication
OSHA Publication 3084 (1998), 248 KB PDF, 31 pages.
This booklet answers several basic questions about chemical hazard communication.
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
Handy source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers and occupational health professionals.
Materials Handling and Storage
OSHA Publication 2236 (Revised 2002), 559 KB PDF, 40 pages.
A comprehensive guide to hazards and safe work practices in handling materials.
Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA Publication 3155 (2003), 305 KB PDF, 44 pages.
Discusses equipment most commonly used for protection for the head, including eyes and face and the torso, arms, hands, and feet. The use of equipment to protect against life-threatening hazards is also discussed.
Safety and Health Topics: Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA website index to hazard recognition, control and training related to personal protective equipment.
Safety and Health Topics: Cadmium
OSHA website index to recognition, evaluation, control, compliance and training related to Cadmium.
OSHA eTools and Expert Advisors can be found on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov
Construction: Preventing Fatalities. Construction can be a safe occupation when workers are aware of the hazards, and an effective safety and health program is used. This eTool will help workers identify and control the hazards that commonly cause the most serious construction injuries. A Spanish translation of this eTool is also available.
Scaffolding: Supported Scaffolds and Suspended Scaffolds. These eTools provide illustrated examples of safe scaffolding use. Hazards are identified as well as the controls that keep those hazards from becoming tragedies.
Solutions for Electrical Contractors. This eTool describes common hazards that electrical contractors may encounter and possible solutions for these hazards. The eTool was developed in cooperation with the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) as part of the OSHA-IEC Alliance.
Steel Erection. America's 56,000 steel erectors suffer 35 fatal accidents per year, a rate of one death per 1,600 workers. OSHA estimates that 30 of those deaths as well as nearly 1,150 annual lost-workday injuries can be averted by compliance with provisions of the Steel Erection standard, developed with industry and labor through negotiated rulemaking. To that end, this eTool has been created to educate employers and workers.
The Asbestos Advisor: This computer program provides an introduction to the scope and logic of the regulations for general industry, construction and maritime.
Lead in Construction Advisor: This computer program provides an introduction to the scope and logic of the regulations regarding occupational exposure to lead and summary guidance to facilitate compliance.
OSHA recognizes Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) worksites for their excellent safety and health management systems.
OSHA has announced an OSHA Construction program to address the unique needs of the industry. The goal of this program is to make VPP more accessible to construction employers, especially small construction employers and to maintain the high standards of VPP while expanding participation to broad construction industry categories such as short-term projects, mobile workforces, general contractors and subcontractors. Pilot programs in these categories have shown beneficial results for participants.
OSHA has created the Challenge Pilot to provide greater opportunities to eligible employers interested in working with OSHA to create safer and healthier workplaces. The pilot is designed to reach and guide employers and companies in all major industry groups who are strongly committed to improving their safety and health management systems and interested in pursuing recognition in VPP. OSHA Challenge provides participants a guide or roadmap to improve performance and ultimately the opportunity to take part in the VPP Merit or Star programs.
Alliances enable organizations committed to workplace safety and health to collaborate with OSHA to prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
OSHA has a number of national and regional or area office alliances that impact the construction industries. The details of these alliances can be found on www.osha.gov under Alliances.
Partnerships are voluntary, cooperative relationships between OSHA and groups of employers, employees and employee representatives (sometimes including other stakeholders and sometimes involving only one employer) that encourage, assist and recognize efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health. National construction partnerships include AMEC Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association. In addition to the national partnerships, OSHA has had nearly 170 regional strategic partnerships with the construction industry since the program's start in 1998.
Twenty-six States and territories operate their own occupational safety and health programs under plans approved by Federal OSHA. Twentytwo of these programs cover both private sector and public (State and local government) employees; four cover public employees only. States may have somewhat different requirements and procedures for the construction industry, but they are required to be at least as effective as Federal OSHA. All State Plans offer a VPP program and have additional cooperative programs parallel to OSHA's Alliance and Strategic Partnership programs. A list of States with approved plans may be found at www.osha.gov
Every state offers a free, on-site consultation program to help small employers find and fix hazards and establish effective safety and health management systems. Funded primarily by OSHA, consultation is provided at no cost to small employers and is delivered by state authorities through professional safety and health consultants. More information on OSHA's Consultation Program appears on the agency's website at www.osha.gov
In 2002, OSHA and AMEC Construction developed a partnership to prevent injuries at the $425 million rebuilding/renovation construction project for New York City's renowned Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
The partnership covered some 220 employees and 17 employers who worked to more than double MoMA's space and expand facilities for special exhibitions, public programs, educational outreach and scholarly research.
AMEC employees completed more than 800,000 hours in 2003 and racked up two impressive safety and health statistics: the number of Days Away Restricted and Transferred (DART) percentage was 90 percent below the national average for their standard industrial classification (SIC) code and the Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) was 92 percent below the national average for their SIC.
Best practices used included daily safety inspections conducted at the site and any hazards identified were corrected immediately. Inspection results were discussed at safety committee meetings. Each employee knew that a safety issue would be dealt with promptly when it came to management's attention. Additionally, an on-site incentive encouraged safe workplace practices.
The right combination of best safety management practices, partnering between OSHA and AMEC Construction, and a DART percentage 90 percent below the national average are fitting achievements for a new and better home for the world's leading collection of modern and contemporary art.
Turner Construction and OSHA Teamed Up on Wisconsin Stadium Project
Teamwork at the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field is not just for professional football players. A partnership between Turner Construction and OSHA made teamwork in achieving health and safety a top priority for construction workers building and expanding the stadium.
In 2003, the $295 million renovation of the Lambeau Field stadium was completed, more than doubling the size of the previous stadium. Seating capacity was increased from 60,890 to over 72,000.
Partnering with OSHA paid off. There were fewer serious injuries for workers and a more than 20 percent cut in workers' compensation costs for the contractor.
The partnership had three goals:
The work was more hazardous than typical steel erections because stadiums are curved and angular in shape. Also, construction and demolition activities were taking place simultaneously, often within a few feet of each other.
Several potential serious accidents were avoided by requiring all contractors' safety and health programs to establish a requirement of 100 percent fall protection at or above six feet.
One worker on the project slipped off a steel beam located six stories above ground. Thanks to his use of full fall protection, serious injury -- or possible death -- was avoided. He was back at work shortly after his rescue. Less than two months later, a second worker slipped from a beam, but also escaped injury because of his fall protection equipment. Like his coworker, he returned to work the same day. An ironworker and a carpenter also fell and were saved by their harnesses.
A significant achievement included 4,300 workers completing OSHA's 10-hour construction training. An added benefit for the industry is that these employees are bringing their safety training to other sites where they are now working.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
This informational booklet provides a general overview of a particular topic related to OSHA standards. It does not alter or determine compliance responsibilities in OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, you should consult current OSHA administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Courts for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements.
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