In the past few years, OSHA has concentrated efforts around highlighting four specific safety areas where the construction industry can improve its recognition, evaluation, and control. These “Focus Four” area include falls, caught-in or -between, struck by an object, and electrocution. Because these hazards appear more frequently on sites, it’s important that the industry continues to broaden overall education and awareness efforts. Here’s a brief rundown of each focus area:
A fall hazard is anything on the worksite that could cause an individual to lose their balance or lose bodily support, resulting in a fall. Examples include unprotected roof edges, floor openings, improper scaffolding, or instable ladders. Fortunately, workers can stay safe by wearing the proper fall protection gear – OSHA requires construction sites to provide fall protection to workers at a height of six feet or above. To view a full checklist on what to look for in personal fall arrest systems, see here.
- Caught-In or -Between
When working in trenching, around heavy machinery, or around large vehicles, workers should be extra aware and careful of their surroundings. Always make sure to maintain proper safety protocols and triple-check all machinery before use. Proper equipment training can give you the knowledge you need to safely get the job done. For OSHA’s visual training on caught-in or -between recognition, see here.
Similar to caught-in or -between, struck-by incidents can also be avoided by staying alert and aware of your surroundings at all times – including around, above, and below you. Pay attention and keep a proper distance when possible from all heavy equipment and consider factors like swing radius and lift loads. For OSHA’s visual training on struck-by, see here.
Unless you know what to look for, electrocution hazards can sometimes be tricky to spot. Keep a close eye for power lines, faulty extension cords, and grounding of equipment. OSHA recommends remembering electrical hazards through the acronym BE SAFE (Burns, Electrocution, Shock, Arc Flash/Blast, Fire, Explosives). By recalling these risk considerations, you can better recognize, avoid, and protect yourself.
For full information and training materials on OSHA’s Focus Four campaign training program, see here.