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.
In fiscal year 2000, thirteen (13) consultation visits were made to construction sites. The consultation requests came from the following types of corporations:
- general contractors-residential and commercial
- steel erectors
- building equipment installation
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|
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
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
- Develop a policy that leads employees in making decisions that favor safety. Ensure that employees understand that safety is at least equally, if not more important, than production, and they are not to place themselves or workers around them in dangerous situations.
- Demonstrate management leadership by requiring all managers and supervisors (superintendents or foremen) to have an active role in safety (i.e., perform safety meetings/training sessions, inspect the site).
- Provide adequate resources for employees to prevent hazards (fall, electrical, caught in, and struck by) . Some examples of resources needed to prevent exposure to hazards are summarized in the table below.
- Implement an accountability system that holds all personnel responsible for working safely on the construction site (identify unsafe acts and immediately counsel employees on the safe methods of performing the tasks). If employee continues to work unsafely, then you must consider discipline.
- Involve the trades in discussing hazards and implementing methods to prevent fall, electrical, caught in, and struck by hazards.
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:
- Involve experts (e.g.: someone with the knowledge of safety engineering) in the evaluation of your site. In some cases, engineers may be required to design your scaffolds.
- Plan for the project by reviewing the safety needs in relation to preventing fall, electrical, caught in, and struck by hazards prior to the commencement of construction activities (planning needs to be pro-active, not reactive).
- Perform frequently documented self-inspections of your construction
site to identify fall, electrical, caught in, and struck by hazards.
Track hazards that need to be corrected. Daily inspections are required
by a competent person for the following items (Note: this list is not
- scaffolding (fall hazards)
- excavation/trenching (fall, electrical, caught in, struck by hazards)
- accident prevention
- cranes (struck by and caught in hazards)
- fall protection (fall hazard)
- Perform a project hazard analysis daily and communicate it to all
personnel involved with the tasks. A project hazard analysis consists
- identification of work to be performed;
- analyzing the hazards associated with the phase of construction;
- determine resources needed;
- taking steps to eliminate possible hazards.
III. Hazard Prevention and Control
Prevent or control all safety hazards on construction sites immediately through:
- elimination of the hazard;
- engineering controls (e.g., guards);
- work practices (i.e., developing procedures for lockout/tag-out, assured equipment grounding, hazard communication and fall prevention plans); and/or
- personal protective equipment.
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:
- OSHA required topics to prevent falls, electrical, struck by and caught in accidents (fall protection, electrical safety, use of ladders, hazard communication, confined space entry, aerial lifts, forklift operation, respiratory protection).
- Job-related training (use of equipment including powder-actuated tools, construction vehicles- earthmoving/cranes, scaffolding assembly, lifting, rigging, accident prevention, and safe work procedures).
- Safety program management (emergency preparedness, policy, goals, responsibilities, accountability system, and resources).
The superintendent or foreman should have an understanding of the following items:
- accident investigations
- work-site hazard analysis (safety inspections)
- training methods
- accountability and discipline reinforcement
- behavioral based safety
The superintendent or foreman may also need competent person training. OSHA requires that a Òcompetent personÓ be involved in the following activities (list is not exclusive):
- scaffold erection
- fall prevention
- accident prevention
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
- Construction Safety Council
- Association of General Contractors
- Construction Association of Ontario
- Center to Protect Workers' Rights