Go beyond OSHA standards to create safe job sites

July 24, 2012 |
Dwight Perkins

Over the past year, OSHA has been cracking down on contractors that violate fall safety standards. While it’s critical that all workers adhere to OSHA rules to avoid fines, but building teams should concentrate chiefly on making the job site safe even if that means going beyond what OSHA requires. That’s the advice being dispensed by the Associated General Contractors of America in a series of training workshops, and it is sound advice.

Every job site is different and comes with its own set of challenges. Contractors might have to purchase additional equipment, set different priorities, or provide additional education to ensure safety. Employee education, in fact, is the key to job safety, especially when it comes to fall protection.

Instead of telling someone they need to wear a harness because OSHA says so, explain the risks of falling and how the equipment will protect a worker from injury that would affect him or her for the rest of their life. Supervisors should be aware that some workers may not report unsafe conditions for fear of being reprimanded for not doing their jobs. Training should emphasize that it is everyone’s job to make sure that the work site is safe.

Time constraints often complicate matters. The best time to make safety plans is during the design phase, but that is often not possible. So, as soon as plans reach a contractor’s hands, they should plan safety measures and be ready to implement them from day one.


Dwight Perkins | Codes and Standards

Dwight Perkins is the Senior Director of Field Operations for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and orchestrates the code adoption efforts of 11 other IAPMO Field Service regions as well as directly working with the state code agencies in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon. Mr. Perkins has more than 35 years experience in the plumbing industry starting as an Apprentice in Alaska moving through the ranks to become a Journeyman Plumber and Business Manager of with UA Local 262. Prior to joining IAPMO, Perkins served in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly while worked as Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He is extremely familiar with the demands jurisdictions face on a daily basis and he is particularly well suited to address those needs. Mr. Perkins may be contacted at IAPMO at 503-982-1193 or email dwight.perkins@IAPMO.org

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