Below is a quick overview detailing how OSHA suggests evaluating risk & the need for PPE in the construction marketplace, essentially how to evaluate & start best practices....
OSHA PPE Recommendation / Planning Overview:
- Hazards exist in every workplace in many different forms: sharp
edges, falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals, noise and a myriad
of other potentially dangerous situations. The Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers protect
their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury.
Controlling a hazard at its source is the best way to protect
employees. Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions,
OSHA recommends the use of engineering or work practice
controls to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent
possible. For example, building a barrier between the hazard and
the employees is an engineering control; changing the way in which
employees perform their work is a work practice control.
When engineering, work practice and administrative controls are
not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must
provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees
and ensure its use. Personal protective equipment, commonly
referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a
variety of hazards. Examples of PPE include such items as protective gloves,
foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs,
muffs) hard hats, respirators, etc.
A first critical step in developing a comprehensive safety and
health program is to identify physical and health hazards in the
workplace. This process is known as a "hazard assessment."
Potential hazards may be physical or health-related and a comprehensive
hazard assessment should identify hazards in both
categories. Examples of physical hazards include moving objects,
fluctuating temperatures, high intensity lighting, rolling or pinching
objects, electrical connections and sharp edges. Examples of health
hazards include overexposure to harmful dusts, chemicals or
When the walk-through is complete, the employer should
organize and analyze the data so that it may be efficiently used in
determining the proper types of PPE required at the worksite. The
employer should become aware of the different types of PPE
available and the levels of protection offered. It is definitely a good
idea to select PPE that will provide a level of protection greater than
the minimum required to protect employees from hazards.
The workplace should be periodically reassessed for any
changes in conditions, equipment or operating procedures that
could affect occupational hazards. This periodic reassessment
should also include a review of injury and illness records to spot
any trends or areas of concern and taking appropriate corrective
action. The suitability of existing PPE, including an evaluation of its
condition and age, should be included in the reassessment.
I'm not sure if I get the entire gist of this site as it seems as most discussions center around PPE which is a list line of defense. If you look at the hierarchy of hazard controls there are many things that can go wrong resulting in an incident that regardless of the level of PPE it will be of no use.
You asked about best practices in construction. Hopefully I can explain this concept clearly....place your project execution plan into a excel sheet or something like MS Project Planner. This shows early works leading to civil works leading to working being conducted off the ground etc. Each of those phases of construction carry unique risks. Under your laid out execution plan you start your Safety Activity Schedule. This schedule shows what you and your safety men will do at each stage to ensure safety compliance. This could be auditing your Contractors against their own plans, recertifying your lifting equipment, fire extinguishers certs, penetration tests, etc. You divide this into blocks of security, safety, health, etc and measure yourself against it.
Just think of the power of that. Your management comes to you and says what have you done. Not only can you show him, you can explain why you are doing it at that stage, and you can give yourself an actual score! This is one of my favorite best practices.
I think the most important item is to look at the hierarchy of hazard controls first. for example in fall protection the main concept would be to avoid creating the hazard, (Eliminate) then look at passive systems, (Mitigate) then finally at as a last resort PPE which would be harnesses and Lanyards. From a steel erection standpoint that would be finding a way to avoid the use of lanyards.
Erect the first 3-4 floors from buckets. Billboard the building and you can do it will boom lifts and avoid the prospect of someone forgetting to tie-off.
Design the construction in such a way as to use scissor lifts instead of ladders.
Use Stairs or bench a trech when you can to avoid the use of ladders where someone would be carrying tools down a ladder.
Use stair towers for pedestrians into a deep excavation instead of steep dirt ramps with traffic.
Maybe we could break this thread into specific areas such as fall protection, steel erection, excavation etc....
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