Does anyone on your construction crew need OSHA training?
Along with getting the job done, worker safety should be one of the top priorities on any job site. Employers and employees should all work together to create a culture of safety around what is a dangerous industry. Over 21% of worker fatalities in the United States last year were construction workers. This is why Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) training can be so important. It helps to educate staff and management to the specific dangers they may face on the job site, and how to take action to prevent injuries and fatalities. In some states and jurisdictions this training is mandatory. There is a lot to know, and the OSHA training guidelines can be dense and confusing. Here’s a quick guide to help clear up who needs OSHA training on your construction site, and what type of training they require.
Construction Industry OSHA Training Requirements
Several states have implemented laws surrounding construction sites and the need to have OSHA training. This is because OSHA initiatives have greatly reduced the number of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. With construction being such a big number when it comes to workplace casualties, There is no better place to make a difference. There are different types of training available, and they can be taken online if needed.
In general, employees should complete the OSHA 10 hour course every 5 years. In Connecticut, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode island, it is the law for employees to take this course. Management must take OSHA 30 hour training online or through one of the other available options. More states are making this type of training mandatory all the time, so even if you are in a state with relaxed laws, this could change at any time.
Who is Considered a Construction Worker?
It’s important to understand who is considered a construction worker and should therefore take the applicable OSHA training. According to OSHA, “construction work” is defined as “work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating.” This definition can include a wide range of jobs and employees, all of which could be at risk of injury while on the job site. It can be complicated to determine who is a defined construction worker and who isn’t on larger, more complex jobs. For instance, maintenance workers may or may not fall under that definition, depending on the type of tasks they perform. Workers who are not considered to be doing construction work according to OSHA include inspectors, delivery drivers, flag holders, and engineers. However, it never hurts to provide the training, even if it is not required.
How Frequent Should Training Be?
There are no set guidelines from OSHA regarding how frequently employees and management should be taking safety training. The states mentioned above do have their legal standards, however. The key is that employees must be able to demonstrate that they understand safety practices and put safe habits into their work every day. If an employee seems to be breaking safety protocols, then it may be time for retraining. If your entire workplace has a habit of being lax when it comes to safety, then you can increase the frequency of training so that they will better remember the concepts. While you can’t necessarily overtrain your staff on safety measures, you can allow for a longer time period between training if staff have demonstrated the ability to conduct their work safely. They may become resentful if they are required to retrain too often when it is perceived to be unnecessary.
The Focus Four
OSHA has based its construction industry safety training on the Focus Four. OSHA has analyzed the data and found that these are the hazards that cause the vast majority of construction work site injuries and fatalities. By highlighting the Focus Four, OSHA helps workers and work sites make changes that will have the biggest impact on safety on the job site. The Focus Four are:
Caught in Between Hazards
This is the type of hazard where a worker could be caught in between something. This could be the parts of a piece of equipment, or several objects that are close together. A worker can be crushed, or their body parts may be pinched or squeezed in a way that causes injury or death.
Falling is the most deadly workplace accident on construction job sites. Workers are often suspended from structures, standing on rooftops, climbing ladders, or falling through utility holes. Depending on the height, a worker can suffer serious injury or be killed from the impact.
There are many objects that can strike a worker on a job site. Hazards can roll, fall, or be projectiles. This includes loads that are not secured properly, tools being used incorrectly and unsafely, or workers dropping things from heights.
Electrical hazards is the last of the Focus Four. Exposed power lines and failure to de-energize circuits are major culprits of worker injury and death.
Even if you are in a state that does not have a training requirement, there is a chance that such a law could be passed soon. More and more states are coming on board with the belief that worker safety, especially on construction job sites, should be a priority.