There are many sources of potential hazards to consider when creating your contractor safety program. In this post, we’ll help you get better prepared for the 10 most common OSHA citations. We’ll also outline the guiding principles for how to build a complete contractor safety program if yours is in need of a reboot, while also defining a few of the common risks associated with typical contractor relationships, which your team likely deals with on a regular basis when working with large work sites.
Preparing Your Contractor Safety Program: 10 Most Common OSHA Violations
Below are the most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. These are a great source for helping prepare your work site against to avoid safety citations and keep your contractors protected.
1) Fall Protection in Construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
Since falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths, it’s critical to establish preventative measures on the work site to prevent employees from falling off platforms or other areas in the building or site.
2) Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
To ensure chemical safety in the workplace, you’ll need to provide the identities and hazards of the chemicals on the work site and make those clear and understandable to your workers. If your business works with hazardous chemicals, you must make sure they’re labeled and you’re displaying safety data sheets, also training workers to handle the chemicals properly.
3) Scaffolding Requirements (29 CFR 1926.451)
In a Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) study, 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these incidents can be prevented if managed properly through OSHA standards.
4) Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against harmful environmental hazards, which could cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. If you’re dealing with any harmful air pollutants, make sure that your team members are supplied with proper protection.
5) Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147)
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, or other sources of machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers. Proper training on how to handle this dangerous equipment can help prevent incidents and injury.
6) Ladders as a Fall Risk (29 CFR 1926.1053)
Ladders and scaffolding are common elements on many work sites, including those in rails and utilities. Your company must set up work sites to prevent your contractors from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry work sites, which is in general, not that high.
7) Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
There are many types of powered industrial trucks, each with their own hazards. Whenever machinery like trucks are involved on your work site, you must ensure that your contractors receive proper training and follow all protocols to prevent unnecessary incidents.
8) Machinery (29 CFR 1910.212)
Moving machinery parts on the work site have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed limbs. Safeguards and training are essential for protecting your contractors from these preventable injuries.
9) Training Requirements for Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.503)
With falls being so prevalent on work sites, and one of the leading causes of injuries, there are a few training requirements to instill to help prevent accidents. These include preventing known dangers on the work site, keep floors in work areas clean and dry, select and provide required protective equipment at no cost to contractors, and train contractors about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
10) Electrical Components and Equipment (29 CFR 1910.305)
Working with electricity has its risks. When work sites contain hazards such as overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies, there is special training required. Always provide the appropriate training for these work sites to prevent hazards.
How to Build a Complete Contractor Safety Program
If you feel like your current contractor safety program is vulnerable, there are steps to take to build your program and make it more robust to meet OSHA standards. First and foremost, conduct an internal audit of your program based on the above hazards and common violations. If you’re not addressing the safety concerns specific to your work site, take the proper steps to mitigate these risks by boosting training protocols or reducing hazards on the job sites.
Other steps include:
- Monitor all contractor activity at their location with real-time tracking or digital identification
- Ensure the area in which the contractor employees are working are maintained safe and free of hazards,
- Provide contractors with specific safety program requirements and monitor training and supplement as needed
If you didn’t see an alarming safety concern on this top 10 list and have one of your own to address, please send it to us by clicking the contact us button below. We want to make sure we address all prevalent concerns. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions on contractor safety or screening as well.
**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.