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OSHA Construction Standards

Preventing Fatalities

Despite its high fatality rate, construction can be a safe occupation when workers are aware of the hazards, and their employer implements an effective Safety and Health Program. There are numerous hazards that can lead to serious injury in the construction industry. The hazards addressed in this eTool* have been selected because statistics show they cause most construction-related fatalities. An effective Safety and Health Program should focus on these areas to help ensure that potentially fatal accidents are prevented.

Did you know?

One of every five workplace fatalities is a construction worker.

Standards Highlights

No employer who performs any part of a construction contract shall require any employee to work in surroundings or under conditions which are [29 CFR 1926.20(a)(1)]:

Unsanitary, and/or

Hazardous, and/or

Dangerous to health or safety.

Select a topic below to view information that will help you identify and control the hazards that commonly cause the most serious construction injuries.

Electrical Incidents

Falls

Struck-by

Trenching and Excavation

Do the OSHA Construction standards apply to me?

The standards apply to:

All contractors who enter into contracts which are for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating. [29 CFR 1926.10(a)]

All subcontractors who agree to perform any part of the labor or material requirements of a contract. [29 CFR 1926.13(c)]

All suppliers who furnish any supplies or materials, if the work involved is performed on or near a construction site, or if the supplier fabricates the goods or materials specifically for the construction project, and the work can be said to be a construction activity. [29 CFR 1926.13(c)]

The controlling contractor assumes all obligations under the standards, whether or not he subcontracts any of the work. [29 CFR 1926.16(b)]

To the extent that a subcontractor agrees to perform any part of the contract, he assumes responsibility for complying with the standards with respect to that part. [29 CFR 1926.16(c)]

With respect to subcontracted work, the controlling contractor and any subcontractors are deemed to have joint responsibility. [29 CFR 1926.16(d)]

How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers’ rights?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers’ rights under the OSH Act.

OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Small business employers may contact OSHA’s free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA’s free consultation service, go to OSHA’s On-Site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.

Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.

If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers’ Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA’s Workers’ page.