OSHA Inspections: Industry Crackdown Targets Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that they are going to be cracking down on construction sites, especially in the Southeast. This industry segment in the past couple of years has suffered more deaths, especially from falls, than in years past. This increased activity has prompted OSHA to develop a special program to find and correct situations that contribute to these deaths.
Fall Prevention Campaign
OSHA’s special program can be found by clicking here. There are three major components to the program: Plan, Provide and Train. They want you to plan ahead taking safety into consideration; provide the appropriate equipment for workers to work safely; and train workers on how to use the equipment and perform the work correctly. I think this is just good safety protocols designed to save lives.
Safety is an attitude
Having worked for a company that made safety very important instilled in me the attitude of working safely. Of course, I still do stupid things, and that is why reinforcement of that awareness and attitude is very important. The safety ATTITUDE has to start at the top. If management, even upper management, does not take safety seriously why should anyone else be expected to as well? A supervisor walking by an obvious problem without correction sends the signal to everyone around that it is not a big issue. So train managers to pay attention.
Targeted Industries
In addition to the construction industry there are also other industries that are targeted on an annual basis based upon these criteria:

  • Industries with at least 5,000 total injury and illness cases in Calendar Year (CY) 2000;
  • Industries with a lost workday injury/illness rate (LWDII) of 3.0 or greater in CY 2000;
  • Industries not in construction;
  • Industries with no more than 30% of injuries and illnesses involving days away from work caused by ergonomic events; and
  • Industries with at least 50% of injuries and illnesses involving days away from work so severe as to result in at least six days away from work.

The industries thus targeted include: oil and gas drilling , landscaping services, metals and basic steel products, public warehousing and more. Click here for the entire list.
The Crackdown began on August 20, 2012
In the press release announcing the crackdown on the construction industry in the Southeast OSHA said “Beginning Aug. 20, OSHA will be identifying sites throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi that may be exposing workers to fall hazards and conducting unannounced inspections at those sites. Additionally, all other hazards in plain sight will be addressed during the inspections.” That last sentence is a key warning “all other hazards in plain sight will be addressed during the inspections.” When they come to inspect you don’t just be concerned with fall hazards, you need to be concerned about any safety hazard.
Exempted Industries
There are some industries that don’t really have to worry about OSHA. The regulations state “If your business establishment is classified in a specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industry listed in Appendix A to this Subpart B, you do not need to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless the government asks you to keep the records under § 1904.41 or § 1904.42. However, all employers must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees (see § 1904.39).” The list of exempted industries can be found by clicking the link.
Safety is worth paying attention to each and every day. It is good business. I can tell you from personal experience it is heart wrenching to have to face a family and tell them their loved one will not be returning in the same shape in which they came to work, or worse yet that they will not be returning at all. So as a character on an old police show used to say “Be safe out there.” (Anyone recall which show that was?)  

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