Establishing a safety and health program at your construction job site is one of the most effective ways of protecting your workers. Losing workers to injury or illness, even for a short time, can cause significant disruption and cost—to you as well as the workers and their families. It can also damage workplace morale, productivity, turnover and reputation.
OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety & Health Programs in Construction provides responsible employers, workers and worker representatives with a sound, flexible framework for addressing safety and health issues on diverse construction job sites. These recommended practices may be used by any construction company or job site, but will be particularly helpful to small and medium-sized contractors. They also include guidance specifically aimed at general contractor employment, staffing agency employment and multi-employer work situations.
Safety and health programs foster a proactive approach to “finding and fixing” job site hazards before they can cause injury or illness. Rather than reacting to an incident, management and workers collaborate to identify and solve issues before they occur. This collaboration builds trust, enhances communication and often leads to other business improvements.
These recommended practices reflect current conditions in the construction industry, including:
- New construction techniques, materials and equipment have come into common use.
- Greater diversity in the construction workforce means that people from different backgrounds and cultures are working together, often speaking different languages.
- An aging workforce and the rise of sedentary lifestyles means that some workers are at higher risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
- Increased temporary and contract employment means that traditional relationships between workers and employers are shifting, and changes in safety programs and policies will be required to ensure the safety and health of all workers at worksites characterized by these newer and more fluid relationships.
OSHA’s recommended practices reflect what has been learned from best-in-class programs and what makes them effective. They place greater emphasis on involving workers, include an improved program evaluation element to help drive continuous improvement and stress the need for communication and coordination on worksites involving more than one employer.
The OSHA Training Institute Education Center is offering a variety of OSHA construction-related courses at multiple locations, including: