Unlike the annual basketball or football finalists, the top OSHA safety violations in the construction industry tend to be the same ones year after year. As housing starts and other construction increases, so do the hazards. Here are the top OSHA safety violations for the most recent year and some tips to prevent them:
- Fall injuries – Construction work inevitably involves working at heights. Use of fall prevention devices can reduce these injuries.
- Hazard communication – Knowledge of existing hazards and how to protect against them may not be equally distributed to all employees. Improve access to employee training and resources like Material Safety Data Sheets.
- Scaffold dangers – Improper scaffold construction accompanied by unsafe use is a recipe for injury. Scaffolding should be inspected by a supervisor before use.
- Respiratory protection – Exposure to airborne toxins and irritants can be a daily hazard. Proper use of respirators and medical evaluations for workers who report symptoms can reduce consequences.
- Improper electrical wiring – Electricity kills or injures every year. Safe use of extension cords and temporary junction boxes reduces these dangers.
- Powered industrial trucks – Fork lifts and other construction vehicles may be utilized by multiple users but not properly maintained by anyone. Every user should be certified to operate the vehicle and maintenance responsibilities should be clarified.
- Ladders – Use of the top step, excessive loading and inappropriate usage are all dangerous. Ladders should be regularly inspected and every user should be trained in safe utilization.
- Lockout/tagout violations – Poor communication is hazardous. Employees authorized to lockout and tagout must be identified. Clarify which employees are responsible in group meetings.
- General electrical hazards – Untrained employees plus electricity equals danger. Enforce rules that all electrical work is performed by certified employees only.
- Safety guards on machinery – Powered devices incorporate protection to prevent injury by blades or moving parts. Inspect frequently to make sure these guards are not removed.
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