A to Z Index
OSHA Pocket Guide
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
WORKER SAFETY SERIES
Nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction
sites across the nation on any given day. The fatal injury rate for the
construction industry is higher than the national average in this
category for all industries.
Potential hazards for workers in construction include:
Occupational Safety and
U.S. Department of Labor
For construction, the 10 OSHA standards most frequently included in the agency's citations in FY 2004 were:
Hazard: When scaffolds are not erected or used
properly, fall hazards can occur. About 2.3 million construction workers
frequently work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from
scaffold-related accidents would prevent an estimated 4,500 injuries and
50 fatalities each year.
Hazard: Each year, falls consistently account for
the greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry. A number
of factors are often involved in falls, including unstable working
surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment and human
error. Studies have shown that using guardrails, fall arrest systems,
safety nets, covers and restraint systems can prevent many deaths and
injuries from falls.
Hazard: Ladders and stairways are another source of
injuries and fatalities among construction workers. OSHA estimates that
there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to
falls on stairways and ladders used in construction. Nearly half of
these injuries were serious enough to require time off the job.
Hazard: Slips, trips and falls on stairways are a major source of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.
Hazard: Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year. Trenching deaths rose in 2003.
SLOPING. Maximum allowable slopes for excavations
less than 20 ft. (6.09 m) based on soil type and angle to the horizontal
are as follows:
TABLE V:2-1. ALLOWABLE SLOPES
Source: OSHA Technical Manual, Section V, Chap. 2, Excavations: Hazard Recognition in Trenching and Shoring (Jan. 1999).
Hazard: Significant and serious injuries may occur
if cranes are not inspected before use and if they are not used
properly. Often these injuries occur when a worker is struck by an
overhead load or caught within the crane's swing radius. Many crane
fatalities occur when the boom of a crane or its load line contact an
overhead power line.
Hazard: Failure to recognize the hazards associated
with chemicals can cause chemical burns, respiratory problems, fires and
Hazard: Approximately 100 employees are fatally
injured and approximately 95,000 employees are injured every year while
operating powered industrial trucks. Forklift turnover accounts for a
significant number of these fatalities.
Hazard: Serious head injuries can result from blows to the head.
The following checklists may help you take steps to avoid hazards
that cause injuries, illnesses and fatalities. As always, be cautious
and seek help if you are concerned about a potential hazard.
Floor and Wall Openings
Most resource materials can be found on the OSHA website: www.osha.gov
Publications can be downloaded or ordered at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html
A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry
OSHA Publication 3150 (Revised 2002), 2.1 MB PDF, 73 pages.
Booklet in question-and-answer format highlights information about scaffold safety.
Concrete and Masonry Construction
OSHA Publication 3106 (Revised 1998), 414 KB PDF, 32 pages.
Details information on OSHA's Concrete and Masonry standard.
Crystalline Silica Exposure Card for Construction
OSHA Publication 3177 (Revised 2002), 2 pages.
Discusses silica hazards, and what employers and employees can do to protect against exposures to silica.
A Spanish version is also available. OSHA Publication 3179 (Revised 2003), 2 pages.
OSHA Publication 2226 (Revised 2002), 533 KB PDF, 44 pages.
A detailed explanation of all aspects of excavation and trenching.
Ground-Fault Protection on Construction Sites
OSHA Publication 3007 (Revised 1998), 100 KB PDF, 31 pages.
Booklet on ground-fault circuit interrupters for safe use of portable tools.
Lead in Construction
OSHA Publication 3142 (Revised 2003), 610 KB PDF, 38 pages.
Describes hazards and safe work practices concerning lead.
OSHA Assistance for the Residential Construction Industry
Many OSHA standards apply to residential construction for the
prevention of possible fatalities. This web page provides information
about those standards and the hazards present in residential
construction. It was developed in cooperation with the National
Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as part of the OSHA-NAHB Alliance.
Selected Construction Regulations (SCOR) for the Home Building Industry (29 CFR 1926)
OSHA Publication (Revised 1997), 1.2 MB PDF, 224 pages.
Provides information on safe and healthful work practices for
residential construction employers; identifies OSHA standards applicable
to hazards found at worksites in the residential construction industry.
Stairways and Ladders
OSHA Publication 3124 (Revised 2003), 155 KB PDF, 15 pages.
Explains OSHA requirements for stairways and ladders.
Working Safely in Trenches
OSHA Publication 3243 (2005), 2 pages.
Provides safety tips for workers in trenches. A Spanish version is on the reverse side.
Safety and Health Topics: Crane, Derrick and Hoist Safety -- Hazards and Possible Solutions
December 2003. One page.
OSHA website index provides references to aid in identifying crane, derrick and hoist hazards in the workplace.
Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
OSHA Publication 3120 (Revised 2002), 174 KB PDF, 45 pages.
This booklet presents OSHA's general requirements for controlling
hazardous energy during service or maintenance of machines or equipment.
Controlling Electrical Hazards
OSHA Publication 3075 (Revised 2002), 349 KB PDF, 71 pages.
This publication provides an overview of basic electrical safety on the job.
Safety and Health Topics: Lockout/Tagout
OSHA website index to information about lockout/ tagout, including
hazard recognition, compliance, standards and directives, Review
Commission and Administrative Law Judge Decisions, standard
interpretations and compliance letters, compliance assistance and
Hazard Communication: Foundation of Workplace Chemical Safety Programs
OSHA website index for resources on hazard communication.
Frequently Asked Questions for Hazard Communication
OSHA, 6 pages.
Website questions and answers on hazard communication.
Hazard Communication Guidelines for Compliance
OSHA Publication 3111 (2000), 112 KB PDF, 33 pages.
This document aids employers in understanding the Hazard
Communication standard and in implementing a hazard communication
Chemical Hazard Communication
OSHA Publication 3084 (1998), 248 KB PDF, 31 pages.
This booklet answers several basic questions about chemical hazard communication.
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
Handy source of general industrial hygiene information on several
hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers and occupational health
Materials Handling and Storage
OSHA Publication 2236 (Revised 2002), 559 KB PDF, 40 pages.
A comprehensive guide to hazards and safe work practices in handling materials.
Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA Publication 3155 (2003), 305 KB PDF, 44 pages.
Discusses equipment most commonly used for protection for the
head, including eyes and face and the torso, arms, hands, and feet. The
use of equipment to protect against life-threatening hazards is also
Safety and Health Topics: Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA website index to hazard recognition, control and training related to personal protective equipment.
Safety and Health Topics: Cadmium
OSHA website index to recognition, evaluation, control, compliance and training related to Cadmium.
OSHA eTools and Expert Advisors can be found on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov
Construction: Preventing Fatalities. Construction
can be a safe occupation when workers are aware of the hazards, and an
effective safety and health program is used. This eTool will help
workers identify and control the hazards that commonly cause the most
serious construction injuries. A Spanish translation of this eTool is
Scaffolding: Supported Scaffolds and Suspended Scaffolds.
These eTools provide illustrated examples of safe scaffolding use.
Hazards are identified as well as the controls that keep those hazards
from becoming tragedies.
Solutions for Electrical Contractors. This
eTool describes common hazards that electrical contractors may encounter
and possible solutions for these hazards. The eTool was developed in
cooperation with the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) as part of
the OSHA-IEC Alliance.
Steel Erection. America's 56,000 steel erectors
suffer 35 fatal accidents per year, a rate of one death per 1,600
workers. OSHA estimates that 30 of those deaths as well as nearly 1,150
annual lost-workday injuries can be averted by compliance with
provisions of the Steel Erection standard, developed with industry and
labor through negotiated rulemaking. To that end, this eTool has been
created to educate employers and workers.
The Asbestos Advisor: This computer program provides
an introduction to the scope and logic of the regulations for general
industry, construction and maritime.
Lead in Construction Advisor: This computer
program provides an introduction to the scope and logic of the
regulations regarding occupational exposure to lead and summary guidance
to facilitate compliance.
OSHA recognizes Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) worksites for their excellent safety and health management systems.
OSHA has announced an OSHA Construction program to address the unique
needs of the industry. The goal of this program is to make VPP more
accessible to construction employers, especially small construction
employers and to maintain the high standards of VPP while expanding
participation to broad construction industry categories such as
short-term projects, mobile workforces, general contractors and
subcontractors. Pilot programs in these categories have shown beneficial
results for participants.
OSHA has created the Challenge Pilot to provide greater opportunities
to eligible employers interested in working with OSHA to create safer
and healthier workplaces. The pilot is designed to reach and guide
employers and companies in all major industry groups who are strongly
committed to improving their safety and health management systems and
interested in pursuing recognition in VPP. OSHA Challenge provides
participants a guide or roadmap to improve performance and ultimately
the opportunity to take part in the VPP Merit or Star programs.
Alliances enable organizations committed to workplace safety and
health to collaborate with OSHA to prevent injuries and illnesses in the
OSHA has a number of national and regional or area office alliances
that impact the construction industries. The details of these alliances
can be found on www.osha.gov under Alliances.
Partnerships are voluntary, cooperative relationships between OSHA
and groups of employers, employees and employee representatives
(sometimes including other stakeholders and sometimes involving only one
employer) that encourage, assist and recognize efforts to eliminate
serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health.
National construction partnerships include AMEC Construction, Associated
Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the National Ready-Mixed Concrete
Association. In addition to the national partnerships, OSHA has had
nearly 170 regional strategic partnerships with the construction
industry since the program's start in 1998.
Twenty-six States and territories operate their own occupational
safety and health programs under plans approved by Federal OSHA.
Twentytwo of these programs cover both private sector and public (State
and local government) employees; four cover public employees only.
States may have somewhat different requirements and procedures for the
construction industry, but they are required to be at least as effective
as Federal OSHA. All State Plans offer a VPP program and have
additional cooperative programs parallel to OSHA's Alliance and
Strategic Partnership programs. A list of States with approved plans may
be found at www.osha.gov
Every state offers a free, on-site consultation program to help small
employers find and fix hazards and establish effective safety and
health management systems. Funded primarily by OSHA, consultation is
provided at no cost to small employers and is delivered by state
authorities through professional safety and health consultants. More
information on OSHA's Consultation Program appears on the agency's
website at www.osha.gov
In 2002, OSHA and AMEC Construction developed a partnership to
prevent injuries at the $425 million rebuilding/renovation construction
project for New York City's renowned Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
The partnership covered some 220 employees and 17 employers who
worked to more than double MoMA's space and expand facilities for
special exhibitions, public programs, educational outreach and scholarly
AMEC employees completed more than 800,000 hours in 2003 and racked
up two impressive safety and health statistics: the number of Days Away
Restricted and Transferred (DART) percentage was 90 percent below the
national average for their standard industrial classification (SIC) code
and the Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) was 92 percent below the
national average for their SIC.
Best practices used included daily safety inspections conducted at
the site and any hazards identified were corrected immediately.
Inspection results were discussed at safety committee meetings. Each
employee knew that a safety issue would be dealt with promptly when it
came to management's attention. Additionally, an on-site incentive
encouraged safe workplace practices.
The right combination of best safety management practices, partnering
between OSHA and AMEC Construction, and a DART percentage 90 percent
below the national average are fitting achievements for a new and better
home for the world's leading collection of modern and contemporary art.
Turner Construction and OSHA Teamed Up on Wisconsin Stadium Project
Teamwork at the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field is not just for
professional football players. A partnership between Turner Construction
and OSHA made teamwork in achieving health and safety a top priority
for construction workers building and expanding the stadium.
In 2003, the $295 million renovation of the Lambeau Field stadium was
completed, more than doubling the size of the previous stadium. Seating
capacity was increased from 60,890 to over 72,000.
Partnering with OSHA paid off. There were fewer serious injuries for
workers and a more than 20 percent cut in workers' compensation costs
for the contractor.
The partnership had three goals:
The work was more hazardous than typical steel erections because
stadiums are curved and angular in shape. Also, construction and
demolition activities were taking place simultaneously, often within a
few feet of each other.
Several potential serious accidents were avoided by requiring all
contractors' safety and health programs to establish a requirement of
100 percent fall protection at or above six feet.
One worker on the project slipped off a steel beam located six
stories above ground. Thanks to his use of full fall protection, serious
injury -- or possible death -- was avoided. He was back at work shortly
after his rescue. Less than two months later, a second worker slipped
from a beam, but also escaped injury because of his fall protection
equipment. Like his coworker, he returned to work the same day. An
ironworker and a carpenter also fell and were saved by their harnesses.
A significant achievement included 4,300 workers completing OSHA's
10-hour construction training. An added benefit for the industry is that
these employees are bringing their safety training to other sites where
they are now working.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful
workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and
health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards;
providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships;
and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
This informational booklet provides a general overview of a
particular topic related to OSHA standards. It does not alter or
determine compliance responsibilities in OSHA standards or the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Because interpretations and
enforcement policy may change over time, you should consult current OSHA
administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety
and Health Review Commission and the Courts for additional guidance on
OSHA compliance requirements.
This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully
or partially, without permission. Source credit is requested but not
This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon
request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877)
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