Recommended Practices for Construction Reflect Current Industry Conditions
OSHA’s new recommended practices for safety and health programs in construction (
) are intended to help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep workplaces safe. According to former Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels, the recommended practices take into account current conditions in the construction industry, including new techniques, materials, and equipment that have come into common use; a more culturally diverse work force, which means that workers are often speaking different languages; an aging work force; and increasing temporary and contract employment. These recommended practices, which were developed solely for the construction industry, include guidance specific to general contractor employment, staffing agency employment, and multi-employer work situations. According to OSHA, they may be used by any construction company or job site, but may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack health and safety specialists on staff.
The recommended practices document includes information on management leadership, which OSHA says “creates a culture of safety, facilitates trust, and reinforces the core elements” of an effective safety and health program; how to encourage worker participation in these programs; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training for workers and managers about hazards and controls in construction; and program evaluation and improvement.
“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,” OSHA’s press release reads.