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Construction eTool

Preventing Fatalities

Despite its high fatality rate, construction can be a safe occupation when workers are aware of the hazards, and their employer implements an effective Safety and Health Program. There are numerous hazards that can lead to serious injury in the construction industry. The hazards addressed in this eTool* have been selected because statistics show they cause most construction-related fatalities. An effective Safety and Health Program should focus on these areas to help ensure that potentially fatal accidents are prevented.

Did you know? One of every five workplace fatalities is a construction worker.

Did you know?

One of every five workplace fatalities is a construction worker.

Standards Highlights

No employer who performs any part of a construction contract shall require any employee to work in surroundings or under conditions which are [29 CFR 1926.20(a)(1)]:

  • Unsanitary, and/or
  • Hazardous, and/or
  • Dangerous to health or safety.
Select a topic below to view information that will help you identify and control the hazards that commonly cause the most serious construction injuries.
Do the OSHA Construction standards apply to me?
  • The standards apply to:
    • All contractors who enter into contracts which are for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating. [29 CFR 1926.10(a)]
    • All subcontractors who agree to perform any part of the labor or material requirements of a contract. [29 CFR 1926.13(c)]
    • All suppliers who furnish any supplies or materials, if the work involved is performed on or near a construction site, or if the supplier fabricates the goods or materials specifically for the construction project, and the work can be said to be a construction activity. [29 CFR 1926.13(c)]
  • The controlling contractor assumes all obligations under the standards, whether or not he subcontracts any of the work. [29 CFR 1926.16(b)]
  • To the extent that a subcontractor agrees to perform any part of the contract, he assumes responsibility for complying with the standards with respect to that part. [29 CFR 1926.16(c)]
  • With respect to subcontracted work, the controlling contractor and any subcontractors are deemed to have joint responsibility. [29 CFR 1926.16(d)]
Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.

*eTools are stand-alone, interactive, highly illustrated web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. Some use expert system modules, which enable users to answer questions and receive reliable advice on how OSHA regulations apply to their work site. Some provide guidance information for developing a comprehensive safety and health program and include other recommended practices that often go beyond specific OSHA requirements. As indicated in the disclaimer, eTools do not create new OSHA requirements.

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