Ensuring the safety of workers at a construction site requires clearly defining, implementing and enforcing construction site rules. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a list of rules it expects construction contractors to enforce to ensure worker safety.
OSHA Code of Federal Regulations Title 29 Part 1926
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at Title 29, Part 1926, contains rules promulgated by OSHA that cover virtually every aspect--in 1152 subparts--of construction site health and safety. Implementing a safety and health program helps to ensure that OSHA guidelines and construction site rules contained in the CFR are enforced. The subparts in OSHA's construction site rules cover areas such as emergency action plans, noise exposure, maintenance of equipment, and the availability of first aid.
Contractor Responsibilities Concerning Safety and Health
OSHA's standards require construction contractors to provide workers with sanitary and safe working conditions. OSHA recommends that contractors designate a representative to enforce safety and health regulations and construction site rules to help ensure compliance with OSHA's standards. The Code of Federal Regulations requires the construction contractor to inform employees of potential hazards and to address the safety and health concerns of workers. To ensure workers' safety and health, the construction contractor should correct hazards that threaten to create unsanitary and unsafe working conditions, and provide training to recognize and avoid these conditions. Complying with CFR Title 29 Part 1926 requires the construction contractor to provide training on safe work practices and construction site rules.
Hazard Identification Responsibilities
Construction contractors should ensure that operations, procedures, facilities, and equipment receive proper evaluations to identify hazards that would violate CFR Title 29 Part 1926. The health and safety representative should oversee working conditions and monitor workers' exposure to hazards. Regular safety and health inspections ensure that OSHA's standards are met and prevent unsanitary or unsafe working conditions. The construction contractor should thoroughly investigate and record work-related accidents to ensure that workers do not encounter conditions that violate workers' rights to work in a safe environment. The health and safety representative should follow OSHA's health and safety rules and provide employees with protective equipment if administrative or engineering controls do not prevent hazards to the employee.
Construction Site Rules Concerning Hazard Elimination
OSHA regulations require the construction contractor to ensure that machines and tools used by the workers are in safe working order and comply with OSHA standards. The health and safety representative should institute engineering and work practices that eliminate health and safety hazards created by the presence of scrap and debris in employee work areas. Construction site rules require that the construction contractor provide workers with an unobstructed means of exiting the work site in the event of fire, and the health and safety representative should continually ensure compliance with this construction site rule.
Emergency Planning and Medical Responsibilities
The contractor should develop emergency response plans and fire prevention and protection programs that comply with OSHA standards. These standards call for procedures to account for all employees in the event of an emergency evacuation and designation of an employee to perform rescue and medical duties. The construction contractor should provide access to medical services, first aid treatment, and supplies. Compliance with construction site rules also requires that the construction contractor to ensure availability of emergency rescue for injured employees.
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