OSHA Requirements for Construction Sites

Construction Site

Image via Flickr by Mika Hirsimaki

Working on a construction site can be dangerous, and many workers on these sites are impacted by on-the-job injuries. However, it’s also an essential industry that employs millions of people across the nation and contributes to society’s infrastructure. In order to be sure that where you’re working is safe and taking steps to protect you and the other workers on-site, check out this guide to OSHA safety training and requirements.

What Is OSHA Training?

OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which was formed in the U.S. in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The administration serves to ensure healthful and safe working conditions for all members of the American workforce by setting and enforcing certain standards. Additionally OSHA provides outreach, assistance, education, and training opportunities. Since it was formed in 1971, OSHA has reduced the number of workplace fatalities by 62%. 

OSHA training is available across many different industries, but the construction-focused training identifies and seeks to reduce the risks associated with injuries that happen on job sites. According to OSHA statistics, more than 6.5 million individuals work on over a quarter-million construction sites in the United States every day. The construction injury’s fatal injury rate is higher than the national average fatal injury rate in any other industry, due to the higher risks associated with this type of work. Of all work-related fatalities in the U.S., 20% occur in the construction industry.

Some of the most common hazards in construction include falls, electric shocks, the collapse of scaffolding or trenching, injuries associated with repetitive motion, and injuries due to improper use of personal protective equipment. In response to these concerns, OSHA requires construction companies to provide training and education to workers that are at a higher risk of injury. OSHA offers two training opportunities, both through its Outreach program. The first is a 10-hour class, while the second is a more intensive course that takes 30 hours to complete. 

Who Needs OSHA Training?

Everyone who works on a construction site in any capacity should undergo OSHA Outreach training. However, the question often arises as to which training course is needed for each individual worker. According to OSHA, the 10-hour Outreach training class is designed to make construction workers more aware of the job-related health and safety hazards that they face. The 30-hour Outreach training class is meant for site supervisors and workers who have responsibility for the safety of others on-site. 

During the 10-hour program, participants will gain a foundation for safety in the construction industry. This training requires 10 full hours of student contact time, although the content isn’t covered in one day. The maximum amount of training that OSHA allows an instructor to provide in a single day is 7.5 hours. The main topics covered in this course include general safety and health provisions, an introduction to OSHA, and hazard communication. The training follows the standards outlined in 29 CFR 1926 and 29 CFR 1910.

In the construction industry, the course goes into more detail about specific concerns, such as cranes and rigging, power tools, fall protection, scaffolding, electrical safety, ladders, being caught in/between objects, and getting struck by items. Before a worker can perform specialized work, OSHA requires them to complete additional training, such as excavation safety, confined space entry, use of explosives, and concrete and masonry. Heavy equipment operators generally have to complete specialized courses as well.

The OSHA 30-hour training is for those who supervise job sites and workers, providing a deeper and broader understanding of construction-related safety and health topics. The purpose of this training is to ensure that those responsible for construction sites can properly manage the safety of all who work on them. It is recommended for engineers, project managers, supervisors, site leads, safety specialists, and foremen.

Some people in the construction industry will complete both the 10-hour and 30-hour OSHA Outreach training courses. For example, if a worker took the 10-hour course but later became a site lead or foreperson, they would likely have to complete the 30-hour course. OSHA does not allow for any hours taken during one program to be applied to the other. Therefore, in this example, that worker would take 40 hours of OSHA safety training in the two separate programs.

After completing the Outreach course, participants receive a wallet card and certificate as proof of completion. They can show this to their current and/or future employers to indicate that they understand the safety concerns associated with the construction industry and are able to perform their duties in a safe manner.

How to Know if a Construction Site Is OSHA-Level Safe 

When you’re looking for construction work in northwest Indiana, it’s important to know that the sites you’re considering working on are safe and that the company that may employ you takes your health and safety seriously. Both the construction company and the workers on-site are ultimately responsible for maintaining a safe place to work. The construction company must value and implement safety measures on every job site, while the workers must follow those measures to protect themselves and those around them.

You can start by researching the company you want to work for to learn more about their safety record. When comparing companies, it’s helpful to look at the culture. Safety should be ingrained in every aspect of a construction company’s culture, including how it provides continuous training opportunities and maintains its requirements for safety on every job site. OSHA also maintains a database of violations that are available to the public. Before accepting a job, you may want to perform a review of the company’s OSHA history. 

Your health and safety are extremely important, no matter the industry in which you choose to work. A job in construction can be rewarding, but it’s crucial to ensure that your employer and those on your job site understand the importance of safety and the inherent risks associated with this industry. If you have been injured on the job, our team of legal experts at Alvarez Law Office is here to help. We serve clients in Indiana and Illinois, and we have a team of experienced, trusted, and committed injury attorneys.

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