OSHA to provide safety training for construction workers

Working at a construction site can be hazardous to a worker's health. Seven construction workers were injured last month on a hotel construction site and at a moving company facility, respectively, in Pennsylvania. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating these accidents to discover the reason for these injuries.

Accidents at construction sites may happen due to various reasons: it may be a crane accident, scaffolding accident or an electrical accident. However, most workers are injured by fall. In the last decade, officials conducted 80 inspections of Pennsylvania sites, where 42 of those incidents involved investigation due to falls. Another 18 accidents were caused by moving objects hitting construction workers.

According to officials, most OSHA violations involved construction sites where fall protection equipment, ladders and other equipment were not used correctly. The next most frequent unsafe site conditions were related to trenches and failure to protect workers from respiratory dangers of working below ground level. OSHA is now requiring workers to know how to use a safety harness because some incidents involved injuries that could have been prevented if workers were wearing a harness. OSHA stated it will increase the agency's efforts to teach workers how to do their jobs safely and inspect construction sites to be sure regulations are met.

While OSHA provides safety training, the construction company must ascertain that the job is being done safely, and workers are provided proper safety equipment and training to use that equipment. If a construction company fails to provide safety gear for its workers and an accident occurs, the company may be held liable for damages. Along with fines imposed by OSHA, the company may have to pay workers' compensation to injured workers.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Workzone: Agency building safety at construction sites," Len Boselovic, July 13, 2014

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