OSHA Updates for 2022

OSHA 2022

OSHA 2022OSHA compliance is critical for construction employers. Staying current on OSHA changes and programs helps you take action to increase protective measures for the safety of your employees. Although much of recent OSHA update coverage has focused on vaccine mandates, there are many other ongoing OSHA programs aimed at maintaining a safe work environment.

The following OSHA programs will impact your construction employees throughout 2022.

National Safety Stand-Down 

The National Safety-Stand Down increases fall hazard awareness to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.  

  • This voluntary event encourages employers to talk with employees about company safety policies and goals, the importance of fall prevention, and the use of protective methods.   
  • Conduct a Safety Stand-Down during a toolbox talk, safety equipment inspection, development of a rescue plan, or discussion of specific job hazards.  
  • Provide feedback about a Safety Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation from OSHA.

Heat Stress Emphasis Program 

A federal heat standard regarding heat injury and illness prevention in indoor and outdoor work settings is being formed.  

  • A reduction in the number of workers who die from job-related heat stress continues to be a growing priority.  
  • A program with national emphasis is being developed to protect workers from hot environments to reduce ambient heat exposure.  
  • A National Advisory Committee on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention is being formed to better identify the challenges impacting worker safety.

Other Programs Impacting Construction

  • The OSHA Fatality Inspection Procedures to Victim’s Family facilitates the exchange of information throughout the inspection and settlement process. This keeps the family informed of the status of the inspection, preliminary findings, any issued citations, proposed penalties, settlement, and closure of the case.  
  • The Combustible Dust program reduces combustible duty hazards such as explosion prevention and mitigation controls.  
  • The Lead Exposure program includes a system to measure lead exposure during inspections.
  • Trenching and Excavation emphasizes the reduction or elimination of workplace hazards related to these operations.

Programs with Regional Emphasis Impacting Construction  

Each of OSHA’s 10 regions may have programs that emphasize specific issues related to the construction industry.  

  • Seven regions, including the entire country east of the Mississippi and the Pacific Northwest, have programs regarding noise hazards in the workplace.  
  • All federal regions other than the Kansas City region and the South Pacific islands are focusing programs on fall hazards. 
  • New England, the Pacific Northwest, and Texas and the contiguous states are focusing special attention on construction cranes.  
  • Regions stretching from New York south to Virginia and west to Minnesota have programs focused on demolition.  
  • Nebraska and Kansas have programs emphasizing commercial and residential construction after severe weather. 
  • The Rock Mountain region has a program focused on asbestos abatement. 
  • New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have programs related to heavy highway and bridge construction.

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Post-COVID Safety Tips for Tradesmen

Have you considered your safety procedures for getting back to work? Now that more projects are restarting, tradesmen around the country are returning to worksites. Getting back to work is great but maintaining the proper safety policies is imperative in order to keep your business running and your team healthy. Here are a few safety tips for the worksite.

Stay home if you’re sick

Not coming to work due to illness may be a foreign concept to some, but never has it been more important than now. Make sure your fellow tradesmen on the job understand that it’s not a question, but a directive, as they have has the potential to infect the whole crew. Because people may be hesitant to use their leave, remind them of policies established by the government providing time off for COVID as well as any company-specific time off policies.

Start each shift by screening temperatures.

The first thing your workers should do when arriving on-site is to have their contactless temperature recorded. Establish a maximum temperature and turn away anyone who doesn’t fall under the maximum. With temperature being such a common symptom, you can’t risk an employee bringing their germs around everyone else.

Provide hand sanitizer or handwashing stations

Depending on where you’re working, you may not have access to a full sink, but make sure there is plenty of hand sanitizer and that it is being used. Hang signs with proper procedures and reinforce the necessity to keep surfaces clean.

Decide the necessary PPE.

Your personal protective equipment (PPE) was valuable to you at work long before COVID, but now it serves a dual purpose. Make sure your team is following the physical safety guidelines for the site as well as keeping the proper masks on, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Remind workers about proper respiratory practices

Every sneeze and cough aren’t indications of the virus but can be a contributing factor in spreading the virus. Make sure your team knows to cough and sneeze into their elbows instead of into their hands. While the mask creates a barrier, you don’t want the employee to somehow get germs on their hands and then spread them to surfaces used by others.

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