OSHA Launches Local Construction Emphasis Programs

OSHA's Region VI office in Dallas, Texas, has established a Regional Emphasis Program covering employees in the construction industry who perform crane operations. The program conducts safety inspections of workplaces in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and sites in New Mexico that are under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

"This Regional Emphasis Program was established as an enforcement initiative for the inspection of cranes used in construction, with the goal of preventing serious and fatal injuries to employees working on and around cranes," said Regional Administrator Dean McDaniel. "The REP will address various hazards associated with cranes, including but not limited to, being struck by objects, electrocution, crane tip-over, being caught in or between machinery, and falls. Past inspection evidence indicates these hazards are the leading causes of accidents where cranes are used in the construction industry."

OSHA said the emphasis program is intended to supplement its existing targeting programs, focusing additional resources as necessary to monitor jobsites, promote compliance, and promote awareness of safety and health hazards during construction activities involving cranes. OSHA will utilize a number of tools to address this issue, including enforcement, outreach, training, onsite consultation, partnerships, alliances, and the agency's Voluntary Protection Programs.

Under OSHA's construction crane standard, 29 C.F.R. 1926.550, there is a general requirement for employers to inspect construction cranes prior to each use, during use, and annually. OSHA also has specific standards that apply to different types of cranes. The OSHA standard requires that employers conduct tower crane inspections prescribed by the manufacturer.

In addition, OSHA has also announced the start of a local emphasis program in Kansas aimed at reducing workplace hazards on residential and commercial construction sites.

OSHA said its goal with this program is to reduce employee exposures to hazards on construction sites through increased awareness and enforcement activities. Under the program, OSHA will randomly select geographical areas by zip code within the state of Kansas. Cities with a population of 8,000 and greater will be eligible for inspection and all active residential and commercial sites within a selected zip code will be inspected. OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety and health inspections to identify hazardous work exposures. Additionally, safety and health programs, training records, air monitoring surveys, and noise surveys will be reviewed as applicable.

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