The leading causes of worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry are falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” are responsible for more than 60% of construction worker deaths in 2014.
Training employees, having an active safety management program, and taking safety precautions with your work site are all effective in decreasing injuries, illnesses and death. If an accident does occur, chances are you will be audited by OSHA to evaluate your safety methods and be penalized for anything that is out of compliance.
OSHA Inspectors can visit any worksite without warning. You need to be prepared to accommodate an inspection, including having someone selected and trained as the point of contact for the Inspector. This person should know where safety documents are located, and how to respond to any hazards that are pointed out during the walk-through as well as questions from the Inspector.
The best way to prepare for this possibility is to conduct an on-site audit of your facility to simulate an OSHA audit. Not only will this prepare your entire team and serve as training for the person selected to work with an OSHA Inspector, it is a good opportunity to identify and correct safety hazards that could occasion such an audit.
You should include general areas in your self-audit such as means of egress, medical and first aid supplies, fire protection equipment, all potential electrical hazards, material handling and storage, and powered platforms, man lifts, etc. In addition, you should review and asses any hazards particular to your company or industry. One benefit of having a partnering company perform your simulated OSHA audit is that they can walk you through the entire process – starting with the opening conference, reviewing documents, performing an actual site walk-through, and finishing with a review of the findings.
Your OSHA Inspector will take into account all the precautions you have in place to prevent accidents, including the extensiveness of your safety management program and employee training records. Being able to show OSHA that your company takes safety seriously, and works pro-actively to keep its employees safe, will only work in your favor.
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