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Safety Considerations in the Construction Industry

CAPP-Final Report Year 1
Georgia Tech Safety and Health Consultation Program
Gayle Fratto and Thomas Dean

The purpose of the Consultation Activity Performance Project for construction is to reduce the frequency and severity of injuries on construction sites by focusing on four types of hazards. These types of hazards include: falls, electrical, struck by, and caught in.

General Contractors (some of which hire craftsmen) and Special Trade Contractors are included in our observations on construction site hazards.

Major Findings

In fiscal year 2000, thirteen (13) consultation visits were made to construction sites. The consultation requests came from the following types of corporations:

OSHA 200 information was available on less than one-quarter of sites visited. Only one of three corporations that maintained the OSHA 200 form had recordable injuries. No trends were detectable with the limited amount of available data.

Visit Information Hazard Summary
Total Visits and Type of Corporations
Number of Visits 13
General Contractors 03
Concrete/Masonry 02
Mechanical 01
Heavy 02
Building Equipment 01
Steel Erectors 01
Other 03
Types of Hazards
Companies with fall hazards 12
Companies with electrical hazards 04
Companies with struck by hazards 04
Companies with caught in hazards 02
Total Number of Hazards by Type
Falls 55
Electrical 21
Struck By 04
Caught In 02

One fall injury occurred as the result of a building installation contractor failing to provide fall protection during the installation of carpet racks in an industrial building.

Fall and electrical hazards were the most prominent observation on construction sites. Over ninety percent of the corporations evaluated had fall hazards on their projects.


Fall, electrical, struck by, and caught in hazards on construction sites can be prevented by developing and implementing an effective safety and health management system that focuses on the four elements.

I. Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
Table I: Resources Needed to Prevent Hazards
Falls Electrical Caught In Struck By
Scaffolding equipped with railing and toeboards Ground fault circuit interruptors Adequate guarding of all exposed moving parts Training of all heavy equipment operators
Proper housekeeping of all work surfaces Electrical test equipment to ensure proper wiring of all circuits Inspection of all machines and power tools Daily inspections of the vehicles
Fall arrest/prevention equipment Employee training in clearance distances and PPE Operator training in the use of machines and power tools Provision of safety equipment (back up alarms, flashing lights
Employee training in fall protection, scaffolding, aerial lifts, and use of ladders Provision and use of appropriate PPE (gloves, hard-hats, etc.) Preventative maintenance program for equipment Safe work practices (work rules that limit use of equipment to qualified operators
Daily inspections focusing on conditions and behavior Daily inspections of electrical equipment used on site Safe work practices-lockout/tag-out Provision and use of PPE when working around flying particles
Safe work practices-fall prevention plans Procedures: assured grounding procedure for equipment and lockout/tag-out Standard operating procedures Training for personnel who work around equipment
II. Work-site Hazard Analysis

Implement a system to identify safety hazards on your construction site through implementation of the following:

III. Hazard Prevention and Control

Prevent or control all safety hazards on construction sites immediately through:

Implement an effective preventative maintenance program that requires frequent inspection of all tools and equipment used on the site (i.e., crane inspections, construction vehicles, power tools, scaffolds, lifts).

IV. Safety and Health Training

All managers, supervisors (superintendents, foremen) and tradesmen need safety training that is appropriate for the tasks being performed and their areas of responsibility.

Tradesman or laborers on construction sites may need the following training:

The superintendent or foreman should have an understanding of the following items:

The superintendent or foreman may also need competent person training. OSHA requires that a √ícompetent person√ď be involved in the following activities (list is not exclusive):

Management needs training based on their responsibilities. Managers also need to have an understanding of the importance of providing visible management support and the goals and how they are measured.


The following resources are available on the Internet:

Colleges or Universities