OSHA Issues Recommended Practices for Construction OSH Programs

The recommended practices are flexible and can be adjusted to fit small and large construction companies handling short-term or multi-year projects, according to OSHA.

OSHA on Dec. 1 issued new recommended practices to help construction industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe, with the agency saying the recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff.

Contractors can create a safety and health program, according to OSHA, by using a number of simple steps that include training workers on how to identify and control hazards; inspecting the job site with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials; and developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance. "The recommendations outlined in this document will help contractors prevent injuries and illnesses on their construction sites and make their companies more profitable," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

The recommended practices "are flexible and can be adjusted to fit small and large construction companies handling short-term or multi-year projects. Working with employees to implement a program can offer other benefits including improvements in production and quality; greater employee morale; improved employee recruiting and retention; and a more favorable image and reputation among customers, suppliers and the community," the agency said in its announcement, which noted that the recommendations are advisory only and don't create any new legal obligation or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

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