Most contractors in the residential construction industry lack the basic knowledge of what OSHA requires for fall protection and other standards The residential industry has done a poor job of training contractors nationwide. OSHA enforcement and education efforts in New England (Region 1)are focused heavily on residential contractors. Massachusetts and Connecticut contractors are telling us they are seeing OSHA on their sites for fall protection violations.
This week we held a Mass Continuing Education Construction Supervisor License training sponsored by National Lumber in Leomister, Mass. Several long time contractors were not aware of what OSHA requires for compliance with Subpart M (duty to have fall protection), Subpart L (scaffolding) and Subpart X (ladders). The men were surprised about what OSHA expects. For example two individuals were unaware of the requirement that a ladder that is used to access an upper level nust extend 3 feet above the roof edge and be tied off. Others were surprised that they must have a training program for fall protection and that workers must be trained before they are exposed to a hazard.
The biggest surprise was not knowing that the general contractor is responsible for safety of all workers on the site including sub contractors.
The lack of knowledge and training in the residential sector does not bode well for contractors due to the increased scrutiny OSHA is giving residential job sites. The residential industry is now a targeted industry for education and enforcement due to the reported increase in injuries and deaths.
A Path to OSHA Compliance For Safe Job Sites, Worker Protection and Avoiding OSHA Citations and Fines
One of the first steps that a contractor should consider is OSHA 10 training. In this training contractors are exposed to the basics of OSHA, the standards and the responsibity of the owner and the worker. Here is a list of standards to consider for your safety program, training program and safety manual development.
- OSHA 10 Training and Certification
- Safety Program and Manual Development
- Training workers on the main hazards that cause the majority of injuries and deaths
- Subpart M: fall protection
- Subpart L: scaffolding
- Subpart X: ladders and stairs
- Subpart K: electrical
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Hand and Power Tools
- Hazardous Communication
- Fire Prevention
- First Aid and Life Safety
- Job Hazard Analysis Process
The above is a general list (not exhaustive) that should be adopted and learned by contractors to achieve a safe and healthy workplace for their workers.
Any contractor can begin the path to safety compliance by taking one step at a time. We would recommend starting with OSHA 10 and then fall protection. The rest can follow as your knowledge and comfort level with OSHA increases. Rome was not built in a day. Your safety program can develop over the course of 6 months to a year and bewfore you know it your are done.
Need help? Don't know where to start?
Contact us and we will help you get started.