Thu, 19 May 2022

Construction-related activities are highly labor-intensive and require a lot of effort. Such construction activities involve heavy machinery, and often when constructing a building or a bridge, the workers have to work from an astounding height to build these structures.

So, it increases the risk of fall accidents on construction sites, and most of the mishappenings on construction sites are fall accidents only. This makes it essential for construction companies and contractors to put up safety railings and personal fall arrest systems to protect their workers from falling.

Besides, installing the safety railings helps the contractors to comply with OSHA regulations. If you look at the History of Osha's protective regulations, they issued a fall protection standard back in 1994, and before that, they provided updates regarding fall protection.

What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Association was put into action in 1970. Owing to the industrial revolution and the advent of the working class in the country, enacting OSHA was necessary to ensure the safety of the labor force.

This act prevented employers from cutting corners regarding employee safety as they were now mandated to provide their employees with safe working conditions.

Moreover, those who do not comply are penalized. Implementation of OSHA regulations has single-handedly raised the workplace safety standards in the United States.

What are OSHA safety standards?

The safety standard outlined by OSHA is the methods and means that employers have to maintain at the workplace. OSHA has set basic rules and regulations for each specific industry as per its requirements. They have set standards for construction, maritime, and general industries.

These standards aim to limit workplace injuries by providing the workers with the required safety measures and enforcing that the employers offer ample safety training and protective kits. In the case where there are no clauses or regulations for a specific industry by OSHA, the employee must comply with General Duty Clause.

How does OSHA help in improving safety on construction sites?

OSHA has significantly impacted the construction industry since its inception forty-nine years ago. The fatalities at a construction site have dropped to half of their original percentage owing to reasonable regulations imposed by OSHA.

You will be surprised to know that even the number of workplace injuries dropped significantly earlier in 1972. There used to be almost 11 incidents per 100 workers, but now the average rate is 2.8 incidents per 100 workers.

When discussing construction safety, OSHA closely monitors the four fatalities at a construction site; falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught or stuck between things. These four types of accidents are most prevalent at a construction site, with fall accidents proving to be fatal.

Most common OSHA violations at a construction site

While constructions are mandated to follow all the protocols and standards outlined by OSHA, developers and contractors often cut corners.

These are some of the most persistent and common violations made by contractors on construction sites.

  • Improper fall protection
  • not following the standardized scaffolding procedure
  • Not providing the workers with proper respiratory protection.
  • Not following standards pertaining to lifts and ladders.
  • Not using proper protective equipment while handling heavy machinery
  • Inadequate training for workers regarding fall protection
  • Inadequate or sub-par face or head protection.
  • Recommended practices to protect workers from fall accidents.

    You will be surprised to know that most accidents on a construction site are fall accidents since they account for the most percentage of total accidents. Almost 35% to 40% of accidents on a construction site are related to a fall accident.

    Looking at the History of OSHA's protective regulations, when there were no standards regarding fall accidents before 1994, such fatalities were more in number. However, there has been a significant decrease in fatalities owing to fall accidents, but there is scope for improvement. As per OSHA, the company must provide fall protection for general construction activities if the workers are working above four feet.

    In the case of shipyards, fall protection equipment is necessary above five feet and over eight feet in long shoring operations. Besides, they also mandate that any type of hole where a worker might fall into must be covered, and guard rails must be installed against open spaces.

    How to improve fall protection?

    The best way to improve fall safety is to install metal railings along the heightened open spaces to ensure that no one falls over.

    In addition, the installation of personal fall arrest systems is a viable option. To ensure the safety of their workers, construction companies must invest in high-quality safety rails, which will help them safeguard their workforce and ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.

    OSHA has revolutionized safety in the workplace, and because of such a regulatory agency, many lives have been saved. Close monitoring and proper implementation of standards will help save more lives from workplace accidents.

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