CONN-OSHA’s Consultation Program Enhances Outreach to Construction Industry

Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health

Construction is a high hazard industry. Construction workers engage in many activities that may expose them to serious hazards such as falling from roofs, electrocutions, silica dust, and lead. CONN-OSHA’s Consultation Program has developed two initiatives to improve its outreach to construction contractors and their subcontractors.

Outreach to Spanish-Speaking Construction Employers and Workers.

According to a report from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), in 2020, 21.7 % of U.S. workplace fatalities were construction-related. Although injuries and fatalities impact every demographic, there has been a significant increase in the injury and fatality rates among U.S. Hispanic construction workers in recent years. According to the same report, the fatality rate for Hispanic construction workers in the U.S. was 41.6% higher than the rate for non-Hispanic workers.

CONN-OSHA recognizes that construction employers/employees who do not speak or read English need training resources that are presented in their language and at their literacy level. CONN-OSHA’s construction safety consultants and the agency’s Spanish-speaking training officer developed a two-step model to work with these employers.

  1. The CONN-OSHA team (or the safety consultant and a bilingual employer representative) trains the employer and their employees on the specific elements required by OSHA’s fall, scaffold, and ladder standards. The training is supplemented with a hands-on review of the company’s safety equipment and a discussion of job-specific protocols. The presentation and handouts are translated into Spanish (or other languages, where appropriate). Since 2022, CONN-OSHA has received 21 training and assistance requests from small construction contractors and has formally trained 108 workers.
  2. The employer schedules a confidential, on-site Consultation visit at an actual job site to assess training effectiveness and ensure compliance with relevant OSHA standards.

Feedback from the employers CONN-OSHA has trained has been extremely positive. One employer commented: “The consultants were knowledgeable and communicated very effectively, responding to questions asked by the workers. In addition, they exhibited patience and possess good teaching skills”.

Increased Focus on Health Hazards in Construction

OSHA and other safety professionals have used the Focus Four in Construction campaign (falls, caught-in or-between, struck-by, electrocution) to prevent workplace deaths and injuries. To address health hazards in construction, organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association have suggested adopting a Focus Four for Health initiative. CONN-OSHA has embraced this concept.

Since 2017, CONN-OSHA health consultants have addressed the following issues with construction employers during Consultation visits:

  • Chemical hazards: Crystalline silica, isocyanates (two-part foam), metals (hexavalent chromium, lead, welding fumes), asbestos, and solvents (glues, adhesives)
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Temperature Extremes: Heat and cold
  • Occupational Noise
  • Ergonomics
  • Infectious Diseases: COVID
  • Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards and how to fix them, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, train and educate workers, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from OSHA enforcement efforts. To locate the OSHA On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit