Violation: Over-Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
There are three paths to complying to the new construction standard which requires workers not be exposed to more than 50 µg/m3 of silica dust in an eight-hour period (this is down from the prior standard of 250 µg/m3).
The first path is through complying via the standardized Table 1 method, which is a prescribed method of controls that is commercially available and easy to use. Please find a copy of the standardized Table 1, here.
The second path is via performance or objective data to document that workers are in compliance with the 50 µg/m3 exposure limit.
The third requires periodically testing for a particular application to validate if the user falls under the permissible 50 µg/m3 exposure limit.
Additional requirements include the below. Please see Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1926.1153 for a full listing of requirements.
- Keeping a written exposure control plan.
- Designating a key competent person.
- Compliant worker training.
- Restriction of housekeeping practices.
- Written records of trainings, control plans, etc.
Violation: Municipal Noise Ordinance
OSHA recommends that workplace noise levels be kept below 85 dBA as an 8-hour time-weighted average. As the noise level increases, it damages hearing more quickly.
The easiest way to help lower noise levels at work sites, according to OSHA, is to remember a three-step noise hazard control process:
- Reduce It– reduce the noise by using the quietest equipment available. For example, choose a smaller, quieter generator.
- Move It– move the equipment farther away with the use of extension cords, additional welding leads and air hoses (following current OSHA standards). Noise levels go down as distance from a noisy object is increased. Move the generator farther away or face it in a direction that is away from where most people are working.
- Block It– block the noise by building temporary barriers of plywood or other onsite materials to keep noise from escalating.
Proper maintenance of equipment and tools can result in lower noise levels. Changing seals, lubricating parts, using sharp blades and bits, installing mufflers and replacing faulty or worn equipment or parts can reduce noise levels significantly on the job site.
Violation: Lack of or Insufficient Fall Protection
Fall protection infractions topped OSHA’s annual ‘Top 10’ list of most frequently cited violations in 2018, according to an article published by the National Safety Council. This is the eighth consecutive year that fall protection infractions topped OSHA’s annual list.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, according to OSHA. As such, it’s vitally important to review OSHA’s fall protection standards to avoid safety violation and, more importantly, any safety-related incidences.
OSHA recommends organizations follow the below three-step process to ensure operations are conducted safely.
1. Plan for safety
It’s crucial for employers to plan for safety. A safety plan may include mapping out the tasks involved and finding the safest route to completing these tasks. Another important factor is determining the equipment needed and making sure any safety gear is provided and all safety procedures have been trained for and are followed. Another important facet of a safety plan is to include all safety costs in the overall project estimates and have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the site.
A number of factors are often involved in falls, including unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment and human error, according to OSHA. Studies have shown that using guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and restraint systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls. To avoid fall-related accidents consider using aerial lifts or elevated platforms to provide safer elevated working surfaces, erect guardrail systems with toeboards and warning lines or install control line systems to protect workers near the edges of floors and roofs, cover floor holes and/or use safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems (body harnesses).
2. Provide the right equipment
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds/elevating work platforms and safety gear.
3. Train for safety
Every worker should be trained for safety and fall protection protocols. OSHA provides many educational resources for workers and employers, here.