A Brief Introduction to OSHA Standards for General Contracting

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OSHA is a federal agency responsible for setting and monitoring safety standards for the construction industry. OSHA standards are guidelines that dictate what measures must be taken to ensure worker safety in any given job site. Construction sites with more than 10 workers must abide by OSHA standards, which means that general contractors and subcontractors alike must implement safety measures for their employees. OSHA compliance is a set of regulations that ensures the safety of workers in any company working with hazardous materials or equipment. To assist general contractors with this daunting task, we’ve listed some of the most important OSHA standards every general contractor should know about.

OSHA General Contractor Requirements

As a general contractor, you are responsible for providing a safe work environment for all employees. To do so, you must comply with OSHA general contractor requirements. These requirements cover safety training, hazard communication, injury and illness logs, and recordkeeping.

Safety training

General contractors are obligated to provide training to all employees who are exposed to a significant risk of injury. General contractors must provide training on the contractor’s safety policies, the job site hazards, and the required protective equipment. Every year, workers must receive additional training on specific topics. For example, workers must receive training on new hazards they’re exposed to and any new safety rules or regulations.

Hazard communication

General contractors must label all containers of harmful materials and provide employees with safety data sheets. In addition to containers of chemicals, this also applies to equipment like jackhammers that create dust that’s harmful to breathe.

Injury and illness logs

General contractors must maintain accurate logs of all on-site injuries and illnesses. They must also report all accidents that result in death or three days of hospitalization.

Recordkeeping

General contractors must keep specific records to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations. These include employee records, construction progress records, safety equipment maintenance records, and training records.

Confined Space Entry in the Construction Industry

One of the most dangerous tasks in the construction industry is confined space entry. A confined space is any space that isn’t designed for humans to work in. This includes spaces with limited oxygen, large amounts of toxic gases, or other hazardous elements that could be fatal to humans. Construction workers must wear respirators and other protective gear when entering confined spaces. To comply with OSHA standards, the general contractor must create a written permit for entering confined spaces. The general contractor must also follow these rules. The general contractor must identify the hazards for each confined space. The general contractor must assess the risks associated with entering each confined space. The general contractor must determine if a permit is necessary. The general contractor must develop a permit for entering each confined space. The general contractor must follow the permit at all times. The general contractor must keep records related to each permit.

Woodworking Machinery and Equipment Standards

Woodworking machinery and other equipment in the construction industry are major sources of noise, dust, and other hazards. To comply with OSHA standards, general contractors must follow these rules.

Silence the woodworking machinery

Woodworking machinery must be properly installed and maintained. Workers must inspect and clean the machinery on a weekly basis. This includes cleaning the dust and debris that’s produced by the machinery.

Duct the dust

General contractors must duct the dust produced by the machinery so it’s discharged outside the work area. Provide proper ventilation. General contractors must provide proper ventilation to reduce the dust produced by the machinery. This includes installing air filters and fans to keep the air clean.

Fall Protection for Construction Workers

The construction industry has an incredibly high rate of fatal falls. To comply with OSHA standards, general contractors must provide fall protection for all employees who’re exposed to a fall hazard. General contractors must follow these rules to provide fall protection.

Identify the fall hazards

The general contractor must identify all fall hazards on the job site. This includes hazards like open ladders, piping above workers, and unsecured scaffolding.

Assess the risks

The general contractor must assess the risks of fall hazards on the job site. This includes determining the distance of the fall, the likelihood of the fall, and the equipment used to reduce the risk.

Provide the right fall protection

The general contractor must provide the right fall protection. This includes choosing fall protection equipment based on the risks and hazards of the job site.

Follow the fall protection rules

General contractors must follow all general fall protection rules. This includes providing fall protection training, ensuring all fall protection equipment is used correctly and having a fall protection plan.

Summary

As a general contractor, it’s your responsibility to keep your employees safe on the job site. To do so, you must comply with OSHA standards for general contractors. These standards cover safety training, hazard communication, injury and illness logs, and recordkeeping. In addition, you must also comply with OSHA standards for woodworking machinery and equipment and fall protection.

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