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Course 800 - Introduction to Construction Safety Management

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Getting Started

This module provides information to help you get started in building a CSMS. You're in luck! The information in this module is not testable (but it's very important). Follow the steps below to identify the major OSHA construction requirements and guidance materials that may apply to your construction jobsite.

Steps to Identify OSHA Requirements

These steps will lead you to resources on OSHA's website that will help you comply with OSHA requirements and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Click on the module sections to review each of these steps.

Step 1: OSHA Requirements Related to Leading Hazards at Construction Sites

Step 2: Other OSHA Requirements That May Apply to Your Jobsite

Step 3: Survey Your Workplace for Additional Hazards

Step 4: Develop a Jobsite Safety and Health Program

Step 5: Train Your Employees

Step 6: Recordkeeping, Reporting and Posting

Step 7: Find Additional Compliance Assistance Information

Step 1: OSHA Requirements Related to Leading Hazards at Construction Sites

The following resources will introduce you to OSHA requirements that address some of the leading hazards at construction sites.

  1. Falls consistently account for the greatest number of fatalitiesin the construction industry. If you have employees who work six or more feet above a lower level, you must provide fall protection.
  2. Stairways and Ladders. Working on and around stairways and ladders can be hazardous. Stairways and ladders are major sources of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.
  3. Scaffolding. Do you use scaffolding on your jobsite?

Step 1: OSHA Requirements Related to Leading Hazards at Construction Sites (Continued)

  1. Electrical. Almost all construction employers must consider the hazards associated with electricity (i.e., electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions).

  2. Trenching and Excavation are among the most hazardous construction operations.

  3. Motor Vehicle Safety/Highway Work Zones. Do you operate motor vehicles on your jobsite or do your employees work in and around highway work zones?

NOTE: Most construction jobsites involve multiple employers (i.e., general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, etc.). If you perform work on such jobsites, you should review OSHA's Multi-Employer Citation Policy.

Step 2: Other Applicable OSHA Requirements

In addition to the OSHA requirements covered in Step 1, a number of other OSHA standards may apply to your jobsite. The following items can help you identify other key OSHA standards that may apply and point you to information to help you comply with those standards.

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): OSHA construction standards (see 29 CFR 1926.28 and 1926.95) state that employers must require their employees to wear appropriate PPE in all operations where employees are exposed to hazardous conditions or where OSHA's construction standards indicate the need for using PPE to reduce the hazards.

  2. Hand and Power Tools. Hand and power tools are common at nearly every construction jobsite.

  3. Do you use concrete or masonry products on your jobsite?

Step 2: Other Applicable OSHA Requirements (Continued)

  1. Are you engaged in steel erection?

  2. Fire Safety and Emergency Action Planning

    Construction employers are responsible for the development and maintenance of an effective fire protection and prevention program at the jobsite throughout all phases of the construction, repair, alteration, or demolition work. (29 CFR 1926.24). OSHA recommends that all employers have an emergency action plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard. (29 CFR 1926.35). An emergency action plan describes the actions employees should take to ensure their safety in a fire or other emergency situation.

  3. Hazard Communication Standard

    This standard is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers with employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication Program and comply with other requirements of the standard, including providing Material Data Safety Sheets, training, and labeling.

Step 2: Other Applicable OSHA Requirements (Continued)

The previous list is not comprehensive - additional OSHA standards may apply to your workplace. In addition, section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, known as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace that is free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Be sure to review OSHA's construction standards (29 CFR 1926) for requirements that may apply to your workplace.

  • You may review and print FREE copies of OSHA's construction standards from OSHA's Website. You may also order bound volumes of the standards from the Government Printing Office (GPO) at (866) 512-1800 or from GPO's website.
  • An OSHA booklet summarizes OSHA construction standards that are most frequently overlooked by employers and standards that cover particularly hazardous situations. Construction Industry Digest. OSHA Publication 2202-09R, (2011).

Step 3: Survey Your Workplace for Additional Hazards

Survey your workplace for additional hazards by:

Find information on workplace safety and health hazards, such as:

Recognized and Foreseeable Hazards

When conducting the worksite analysis, it's important to look for hazards that are generally recognized within the construction industry. Recognized hazards are generally foreseeable on the worksite OSHA will require that these hazards are properly eliminated or controlled.

“Recognized” Hazards

As described in OSHA's Field Operations Manual, recognition of a hazard is established on the basis of industry recognition, employer recognition, or "common sense" recognition criteria.

  • Industry Recognition: A hazard is recognized if the employer's industry recognizes it. Recognition by an industry, other than the industry to which the employer belongs, is generally insufficient to prove industry recognition. Although evidence of recognition by the employer's specific branch within an industry is preferred, evidence that the employer's industry recognizes the hazard may be sufficient.
  • Employer Recognition: A recognized hazard can be established by evidence of actual employer knowledge. Evidence of such recognition may consist of written or oral statements made by the employer or other management or supervisory personnel
  • Common Sense Recognition: If industry or employer recognition of the hazard cannot be established, recognition can still be established if it is concluded that any reasonable person would have recognized the hazard. This argument is used by OSHA only in flagrant cases. Note: Throughout our courses we argue that "common sense" is a dangerous concept in safety. Employers should not assume that accidents in the worksite are the result of a lack of common sense.

Step 4: Develop a Jobsite Safety and Health Program

OSHA's construction standards require construction employers to have accident prevention programs that provide for frequent and regular inspection of the jobsites, materials, and equipment by competent persons designated by the employers. See 29 CFR 1926.20(b).

NOTE:  OSHA's Construction Focused Inspection Policy recognizes the efforts of responsible contractors who have implemented effective safety and health programs, and encourages other contractors to adopt similar programs. Contractors who have implemented effective programs are eligible for focused inspections, should they be visited by an OSHA inspector.  Focused inspections, which are narrower in scope than comprehensive inspections, target the leading construction hazards. See Focused Inspections in Construction.

For help in developing a program:

Step 5: Train Your Employees

Learn about OSHA requirements and resources for training construction workers by:

Step 6: Recordkeeping, Reporting and Posting

  1. Recordkeeping. OSHA generally requires construction employers to keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses (29 CFR 1904). If you had 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year ( 29 CFR 1904.1), you are exempt from the recordkeeping requirements (unless asked to do so in writing by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  2. Reporting. OSHA requires all employers, regardless of size or industry, to report the work-related death of any employee or hospitalizations of three or more employees. Read about OSHA's reporting requirements (29 CFR 1904.39).
  3. OSHA Poster. All employers must post the OSHA Poster (or state plan equivalent) in a prominent location in the workplace. Where employers are engaged in activities that are physically dispersed, such as construction, the OSHA Poster must be posted at the location to which employees report each day (see 29 CFR 1903.2).
  4. Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records. An OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.1020) requires employers to provide employees, their designated representatives, and OSHA with access to employee exposure and medical records.

Step 7: Find Additional Compliance Assistance Information

Where can I find additional information targeted to the construction industry?

Where can I find a collection of OSHA resources designed for smaller employers?

Do you have Spanish-speaking employees?

Do you employ teen or young workers?

Are you concerned that your employees could suffer musculoskeletal disorders at the workplace?

Has OSHA developed any compliance assistance information targeted for my specific construction industry?

How can I find OSHA's guidance on preparing workplaces for pandemic influenza?

How do I find out about OSHA's voluntary programs and other ways to work cooperatively with OSHA?

What if I still have questions?

There isn’t a quiz for this module. If you are ready for the final exam, just click on the final exam button on the course homepage here. Good luck!