The numbers don’t lie. Out of 3,945* worker fatalities in private industry in the calendar year 2012, 775 or 19.6% were in construction. OSHA recently expressed a renewed focus on the residential construction industry in different regions following the release of its top 10 list for the most common violations this year. These violations include Subpart M (duty to have fall protection), Subpart L (scaffolding) and Subpart X (ladders).
Contractors are concerned about how to best avoid serious accidents, OSHA violations, and improve compliance. One way to accomplish this is by requiring employees to take the OSHA Outreach 10 or 30-hour Construction Safety training. There are seven states in the US that require the 10-hour construction safety training for employees. In those states where this rule has been implemented there has been a reduction in work-related accidents.
Residential contractors and employees are also at increased exposure and can be impacted by standards related to respiratory and hazardous waste material communication. OSHA has recently announced rulemaking on silica dust exposure and isocyanate which are both common risks for construction industry workers.
Respiratory Protection Training: Contractors have to follow OSHA standards for lead exposure in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. There are a large number of homes with lead. Lead in construction is actually a state law as it is written in the RRP statute (454 CMR 22.00), so contractors have to follow lead exposure and prevention standards strictly.
GHS and OSHA Hazardous Communication: December 1st 2013 is the deadline set by OSHA for all companies to have employees trained on the new GHS and OSHA HAZCOM update. The new training covers new rules that were established under the alignment to Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling for Chemicals. OSHA not only requires employees to be trained on the new standards, but also requires them to create and implement a new HAZCOM program in accordance with the GHS update.
Silica: Exposure to silica, one of the most dangerous chemicals that can cause lung cancer, is still open for public comments. OSHA has asked companies to provide their input to develop standards for silica exposure limits and for preventing occupational exposure to it.
Isocyanates: These chemicals cause asthmatic attacks and even death. Isocyanates are one of the many chemical components of spray paints and foam insulation. Only trained and workers with proper protective types of equipment are allowed in a working area where spray paint or foam insulators are being used.
OSHA 10 and 30-hour training is your path to learning about chemical hazards and how you can protect yourself from them. These courses help contractors and workers to learn OSHA standards; it’s every employer’s responsibility to provide safe working conditions for workers.