Enforcement by the Occupational Safety And Health Administration in high hazard industries including construction is scheduled to be increased again during this fiscal year. The number of significant cases that exceed $100,000 in construction has been on a steady increase during the past five years.
Even though there is currently an expanded emphasis on outreach and cooperation with employers that take proactive steps to comply with OSHA standards by the Bush administration, there is no let up on the commitment of the agency to seek out and penalize those employers that have serious violations and fatalities.
In construction, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Construction Users Round Table (CURT) have identified the basic elements for an effective construction safety program and have provided model safety programs that have proven to be effective in reducing injuries and insurance costs.
In 1994 OSHA issued the Construction Focused Inspection Initiative based on the AGC and Curt safety program elements. The initiative directs OSHA compliance officers to conduct abbreviated inspections of construction projects where contractors have implemented effective safety and health programs consistent with the industry recognized AGC and Curt model programs. The model programs also served as the basis for the ANSI A10.33 Safety Program Requirements for Multi-employer Projects and the A10.38 Contactor Safety Program Requirements standards.
In fiscal year 2001 OSHA conducted 1726 Focused Inspections in construction where abbreviated inspections occurred and no citations were issued. State plans have established similar enforcement initiatives that recognize the commitment of contractors to safety and health.
The following OSHA Focused Inspection Initiative policy directive and example programs from Power Maintenance and Constructors, LLC and Grunley-Walsh Joint Venture provide the guidance that a contractor can follow to qualify for a Focused Inspection.
Power Maintenance and Constructors, L.L.C. has developed and implemented a comprehensive safety and health program that fully complies with all aspect of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The safety and health program addresses the traditional issues of supervision, training, inspections, reporting and recordkeeping, fall protection and each and every Subpart of the Department of Labor 29 CFR 1926 Construction Safety Standards and Regulations.
Experience and research have demonstrated that compliance with the minimum government rules results in the minimum protection of employees with an average safety record.
To raise the level of worker protection on PMC projects and to obtain an exemplarily safety record, the Safety Continuous Improvement Program was developed with the goal of creating a safety culture that encourages cooperation between all parties of the project and increases participation by craftsmen and their representatives in the every day safety activities.
Clear delegation of responsibility and authority are essential elements of an effective safety program. The Safety Continuous Improvement Program is designed to clarify assigned safety responsibility and to fully document the required actions taken to implement the safety program.