Construction Standards for Residential Remodeling Protection – A Checklist
For homeowners as well as residential construction workers to be safe, everyone needs to be aware of the minimum standard safe work practices for the construction industry.
You can create a residential construction checklist based on the standard OSHA requirements for construction on a residential site from the following guidelines:
Analyzing the Safety of the Worksite
A construction site must be assessed by the construction team including the managers and workers in order to find any potential hazards that will put workers or a homeowner in danger of being hurt. If any hazard exists, it needs to be safely removed so that the removal itself does not create an additional hazardous situation.
Safety and Health Training
Before any construction professionals begin work at a site, the OSHA requirements state that all workers must have safety training within the company that they work for that meet the minimum requirements of the environment that they will be working in. The general requirements for both workers and employers are the following:
Minimum Construction Employee Safety Requirements
• Adhere to safety guidelines set by OSHA and the construction company
• Always wear safety equipment and be responsible for taking care of it
• Check the safety gear on all tools and other equipment before using it
• Do not act carelessly and endanger others
• Do not practice irresponsible behavior on a job site like horseplay
• Be responsible for replacing tools that are not performing properly with new devices or parts
• Report to a supervisor any practices that are judged as unsafe
Minimum Employer Construction Jobsite Safety Requirements
• Do not allow any hazardous objects on the worksite
• Train employees how they should have protection from potential hazards that may be out of their control
• Visit a job site frequently and inspect it for safety
• Always have trained medical personnel available for emergencies
Safety Gear Requirements
• If any potential overhead hazards are present such as electrical wires, debris or tools, workers need to wear a hard hat.
• Hard hats cannot be used if they are dented or cracked
• Hard hats have an expiration date; discard them for a new one if it has past the due date to use. This means the hard hat has deteriorated to the point of not protecting at its optimal quality.
Eye and Face Protection
• When welding, nailing, doing concrete work, or handling chemicals, all workers in close proximity to the activity must have on safety glasses.
• The safety glasses must match the hazardous activity that it is designed to protect the worker from
• Safety glasses that are ill-fitting cannot be worn by a worker
• Work boots should be resistant to slipping and being punctured
• Steel-toed safety shoes or boots prevent toes from being crushed in almost all types of scenarios with small or heavy equipment.
• Loose-fitting or ill-fitting gloves of any kind are not safe. Safety gloves need to fit a worker like a second skin, but not be too tight.
• Additional gauntlets should be added to gloves for workers that are handling any fiberglass materials
• Appropriate gloves need to be worn for the task that is required, i.e. rubber gloves for concrete activity and welding gloves for welding activity.
Lifelines –Falling Hazards
• For any work that is more than ten feet above the ground, a worker should wear safety gear that acts as a lifeline in case the primary line breaks or the worker slips.
• Body belts are not lifelines; they are for positioning a worker.
• OSHA requires that each residential construction site has an actual guideline in place to review for falling protection. It has to be specific to the work going on at the site and it has to be readily available for review by an inspector that may show up at the site.
Stairways and Ladders
• If any stair rails need to be removed, temporary ones must be installed in their place.
• Do not put any materials that could lead to a slip and fall hazard on a stairway.
• Ladders should be inspected by a foreman as well as a worker for any defects in the ladder rungs before they are used.
• Ladders should be locked in place on a stable foundation and tied off for additional security.
• The OSHA specified angle for placement of a ladder is 1 ft. from the base of the ladder for every 4 vertical feet.
• Don’t set up a ladder in a high-traffic area
• Ladders cannot be used safely as platforms including as scaffolding planks
• Stepladders should not be used as straight ladders
Scaffolds and General Platforming
• Keep scaffolds and work platforms free of debris, on a level foundation, and it is inspected by a professional before it is used.
• OSHA guidelines state that a scaffold structure has to be sturdy enough to support its own weight and up to 4x the maximum load that is intended.
• Use manufactured base plates as counterweights for additional foundational support. OSHA does not allow sand, bricks or lumber.
• A deck of a scaffold is required to be fully decked with the manufacturer’s suggested material.
• The front edge of the scaffold must be within 14” of the work area.
Work on Roofs
• Secure skylights and other open areas while removing debris that may cause a slipping hazard.
• OSHA requires that the perimeter of the work area have fall protection if the workers are more than 10 ft. off the ground.
• Workers must wear slip resistant work boots.
Excavations and Trenching
• The location of underground gas lines and any other utility lines must be verified before beginning any digging on the site.
• All equipment must be maintained at least 2 ft. away from the perimeter of an excavated area at all times.
• Workers need to be provided with an apparatus to remove themselves from an excavated area that has to be provided within 25 ft. of the worker.
• If any trenches are five feet deep or more, they must be shored up with trench boxes for safety.
Vehicles and Other Mobile Equipment
• Construction vehicles must have inspections on brakes including brake
• Vehicles must be equipped with backup sensor alarms
• OSHA requires that when dump trucks are used, either a second worker must guide the driver in backing up or a device must give the driver a full view of behind the vehicle.
• Tools must have regular maintenance and be inspected for any defects. Any broken tools must be removed from the site per OSHA guidelines.
• Any power saws are required to be equipped with a blade guard.
• Pneumatic tool hoses need to be inspected to make sure they are properly secured.
• Tools cannot be operated without proper security glasses
• All protective systems that give workers protection from electrical currents need to be utilized. It is against OSHA guidelines to bypass them.
• All equipment has to have at least a 10ft. clearance of power lines around the entire construction site.
You can learn more about residential construction safety at http://www.lni.wa.gov/safety/trainingprevention/online/courseinfo.asp?P_ID=151
Jessica Kane writes for Advance Online, a leading provider of web-based OSHA. DOT. and HAZWOPER training.