Houston OSHA Law Blog

Complying with OSHA Standards on Construction Sites

Construction sites are busy places with many moving parts, literally and figuratively speaking. There are often more than one employer on the job site - the general contractor and multiple subcontractors - which means many employees working on different aspects of the project.

When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finds safety violations at a construction site or other multi-employer worksite, it isn't always clear who is responsible. But under OSHA's multiemployer enforcement policy, employers can be cited when their employees are exposed to safety hazards, even if the hazards weren't caused by you, but by a different employer on the job site.

Why OSHA Visits Work Sites and How to Prepare

A visit from OSHA is generally not a common occurrence, nor is it a "good" thing, from your perspective. OSHA, as the federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health, has the authority to issue costly citations for hazard and compliance violations. In repeat cases, OSHA can put you on its watch list, and in severe situations may even effectively shut your business down.

Eliminating or Controlling Hazards in the Construction Industry

Let's face it: Construction doesn't happen in a padded room free from all potential hazards. It happens in the real world, with very real hazards. Now, at its most simple (disregarding contracts, subcontractors and multi-employer worksites), the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to employee health and safety clearly mandates the elimination of hazards.

But, as you know, not all hazards can be eliminated. Eliminating hazards might be the best way to protect workers, but doing so simply isn't possible. So must work stop? Do you scrap the project? Of course not. Fortunately, the OSHA regulations point the way toward a solution - one that allows the employer to maintain compliance and protects the employee from unreasonable danger and risk.

With Workplace Disasters, the Best Defense Is a Good Offense

Every year, unexpected injuries and illnesses affect workplaces throughout Texas. Even with effective safety measures in place - which we at Kerr, Hendershot & Cannon, P.C. highly recommend - a serious incident can happen at any job site.

That's why it pays to be prepared.

How to Avoid Being Hit with a Retaliation Claim

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages workers to speak up when they feel that safety is being compromised in a workplace, and OSHA comes down hard on employers who are accused of retaliating against workers who do come forward.

If a worker believes that he or she has been retaliated against, the worker can file a claim with OSHA, which will then begin an investigation. An OSHA investigation can be time-consuming, expensive and reputation damaging, which is why it's something that employers should try to avoid.

In order to avoid being accused of retaliating against a worker, it's important to understand what retaliation means.

The Importance of Employee Training and Document Retention

Having a Plan (And Using It) Is Crucial to Employee Safety

You should have a narrowly tailored Employee Health and Safety Plan for your business. You should also have an understanding as to how to use the plan on an ongoing basis. These two items are crucial to maintaining employee safety. Training your employees and subcontractors how to work safely and meet the safety requirements of your Employee Health and Safety Plan - a plan that should include proper documentation of that training - should take high priority.

Is Your Employee Health & Safety Plan Adequate?

The premise of this article assumes that you already have an Employee Health and Safety Plan in place. If you do not, you may want to evaluate your need for such a plan to first protect your employees and second hedge your bets against an OSHA job-site inspection. Having a Health and Safety Plan that covers the operations of your business is not a guarantee that OSHA will not inspect your job-sites, but it is an invaluable tool in determining the outcome of an OSHA investigation.

Why your work site needs a job safety analysis (JSA)

A job safety analysis (JSA) is a technique that helps supervisors,employees and safety professionals identify job hazards before they occur. If jobs at your work site pose hazards or potential safety hazards, they can benefit from a JSA. Having a JSA can prevent or reduce the risk of serious accidents in jobs that feature hazards or potential safety hazards.

Creating a JSA is a three-step process. Anyone who is involved in implementing a job or task should be involved in its creation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following process: