The Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week issued Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction to help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe. The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff.
Safety and health programs encourage finding and fixing workplace hazards before they cause injuries, illnesses and deaths. Implementing these programs also helps reduce the financial difficulties these events can cause for workers, their families and their employers, according to the OSHA announcement.
Contractors can create a safety and health program using a number of simple steps that include: training workers on how to identify and control hazards; inspecting the jobsite with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials; and developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance.
The recommended practices for a safety and health program are flexible and can be adjusted to fit small and large construction companies handling short-term or multi-year projects, OSHA says. Working with employees to implement a program can offer other benefits including improvements in production and quality; greater employee morale; improved employee recruiting and retention; and a more favorable image and reputation among customers, suppliers and the community.
These recommendations are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.