During the busy summer construction season, most contractors are focused on getting as many projects done as they can. That means operating as efficiently as possible. When people are busy, though, safety can sometimes take a backseat to speed. But that way of thinking can be pretty detrimental, though, as a safety incident at one of your jobsites can really derail a project and could hurt the business’s bottom line.
To ensure your crews stay safe and your jobs stay on schedule, it’s worth taking a moment to review the most common safety issues on construction sites. Every year OSHA publishes a list of its 10 most-cited standards, as well as a list of the most-cited standards for the construction industry specifically. Both lists are worth a look, but let’s focus here on the most common construction safety violations, which are likely common hazards on contractors’ jobsites.
Common Construction Safety Violations in 2017
Construction workers face a unique set of hazards, particularly those related to working at heights. In 2017, OSHA most frequently cited companies for violating the following 10 standards:
- Fall Protection — General Requirements (1926.501)
- Scaffolding (1926.451)
- Ladders (1926.1053)
- Fall Protection —Training (1926.503)
- Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
- Head Protection (1926.100)
- Aerial Lifts (1926.453)
- General Safety and Health Provisions (1926.20)
- Fall Protection — Systems Criteria and Practices (1926.502)
We’ve included the specific standard numbers in the list above so you can check out the standards yourself at OSHA’s website. Just from looking at this list, though, you can probably see some common themes.
Working at heights is definitely one of the common hazards in construction, as the first four standards on this list demonstrate. Fall protection refers to the methods used to keep employees safe from falls, including personal protective equipment and guardrails. Both the use of these methods and proper training about them are very important to OSHA, not to mention to employee safety.
Scaffolding and ladders also rank high on this list, so focusing on proper installation, maintenance and use of this equipment is critical. Citations related to aerial lifts, which also involve working at heights, appear further down the list as well.
OSHA’s list also highlights the fact that fall protection isn’t the only personal protective equipment needed on construction jobsites. OSHA commonly cites companies whose employees aren’t wearing proper eye, face and head protection.
Hazard communication, one of the most-cited standards in general industry, also makes the list of top construction citations. This standard for labeling and communication about dangerous chemicals and other substances can be complicated and was updated not too long ago, so it’s worth reviewing.
Review Safety Guidelines and Provide Training
It’s important for business owners, project managers and others in charge of your projects to review OSHA’s frequently cited safety standards. But at the end of the day, you need to make sure crews in the field know what safety protocols they must follow. Even if you’ve done safety trainings for fall protection, personal protective equipment and other commonly cited OSHA standards in the past, a one-and-done training mentality doesn’t cut it.
It’s worth doing a safety audit of your jobsites — in addition to regular required safety inspections — to determine which safety procedures you should provide further training for. You may also want to consider doing daily safety checks for personal protective equipment compliance and provide reminders as needed.
Stay Compliant with Safety Regulations
Keeping up with regulations in construction — for safety and other issues — can be a time-consuming process. Thankfully, modern technology solutions are helping contractors streamline processes, store and track safety and compliance information in one place and manage safety programs and procedures. These solutions make it easier to stay on top of things and avoid violations.
We recommend integrated, cloud-based construction software solutions like ViewpointOne, our new, all-in-one integrated software suite that helps contractors run their businesses and their projects more effectively. You can also learn more about how software aids in compliance in our white paper, “Managing Compliance Is Key to Successful Construction Projects.”