The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 30, 2015

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

MIOSHA program targets hazards

LANSING - The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) this month is launching a Local Emphasis Program (LEP) to target siding contractors, structural steel and pre-cast concrete construction sectors with a goal of improving overall workplace safety and health.

The program was developed in response to an analysis conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the 2013 national figures of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses by industry and case types, which revealed a significant rise in injury and illness rates among these sectors.

Between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, MIOSHA plans to inspect more than 50 siding, structural steel and pre-cast concrete contractors on various sized jobsites, where workers are exposed to serious safety hazards that are likely to cause serious injuries or death. The LEP applies to programmed inspections only. The number of employers, affected employees, and violations, will be tracked and compiled.

Inspections will focus on the hazards associated with these operations, which predominantly include fall protection, scaffolds, ladders, personal protective equipment and tool guarding, electrical, precast and tilt up operations, and structural steel.

The structural steel sector consists of medium-to-large contractors that specialize in steel erection. The scope of work can vary dramatically, from a single beam placement on a residential home, to bridgework decking, or even skyscraper structure erection. The work involves exposure to cranes, unprotected surfaces, overhead hazards and variations in fall protection based on heights and work activities. The pre-cast concrete sector consists of medium-to-large contractors that have specialized equipment to perform these types of construction activities. Proper rigging and bracing of the panels are essential to safe working operations.

The siding sector consists mainly of small employers with ten or fewer employees that have limited resources and/or access to training opportunities, as well as small contractors performing specialty work with fascia, soffit, and gutter and downspout installation. These contractors typically perform siding operations on residential single and multi-family structures. They may encounter various hazards on the jobsite, but most frequently, unprotected sides and edges.

When an industry shows elevated injury statistics, a key strategy of MIOSHA’s Strategic Plan is to determine the need for increased enforcement activities, training and outreach to reduce injuries and fatalities.