OSHA Inspections of Stimulus-Funded Projects
Construction, infrastructure, and green energy projects that are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as manufacturing industries that support those projects can expect to hear OSHA knocking on their doors soon. Part of the funds that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration received have been earmarked for enforcement. This means that OSHA will be hiring more compliance officers in order to keep up with the increased number of inspections that are expected to be completed. Many of those inspections will be focused on stimulus-funded projects.
Rather than inspecting individual companies, OSHA compliance officers will be inspecting entire job sites including any and all subcontractors that may be working at the time of the inspection. This is a welcome change as it will certainly improve the overall safety culture at the jobsite rather than focusing on the safety practices of an individual employer.
While many contractors are already concerned about the safety of their employees, now is the time for them to look at the overall safety of the jobsite and to hold subcontractors responsible for contributing to that safety. Some things contractors may want to take another look at:
- Have all employees received job-appropriate training? Are training documents kept onsite?
- Have all subcontractor employees received appropriate training? Has the subcontractor supplied training documents?
- Is proper PPE supplied and worn at all times?
- Are appropriate signs and workplace notices posted throughout the site?
- Are fire extinguishers wall-mounted throughout the site? Are all inspection tags current?
- Are first-aid kits wall-mounted? Are they an appropriate size for the number of employees onsite? Are they well-stocked?
- Is a Hazard Communication Program provided and explained to all employees?
- Is the worksite kept clean of all slip, trip and fall hazards? Are trash cans/dumpsters provided onsite and emptied regularly?
- Are all hand and power tools in good working condition and used properly?
- Are all holes or openings covered securely and marked?
- Is scaffolding constructed appropriately with guardrails at proper heights? Are all parts in good condition and used properly?
This is just a short list of what contractors must think of on a daily basis to ensure the safety of their employees, in addition to all of their other responsibilities. It may seem like a lot is to be expected but when you think of the alternative – employees rushed to hospitals, not coming home to their families at the end of the day, fatal accidents – there really is no other option. OSHA feels the same way. At a recent ceremony to remember fallen workers, Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, stated, “As we dedicate the building of this monument to fallen workers, we rededicate ourselves to defending and enforcing the right that every man and woman deserves a safe and healthful working environment.”
Those who are working on stimulus-funded projects need to make safety a priority, not only because OSHA may be knocking on your door, but also because it’s the right thing to do for your workers.
This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.