OSHA 2020 Safety Stand-Down Resources

In 2018, 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities were caused by falls from elevation. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to remind everyone that those deaths were preventable

That’s why they provide resources and certification for employers to participate in the annual National Safety Stand-Down event, which aims to raise fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. According to OSHA, a Safety Stand-Down is a “voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about fall hazards and fall prevention safety.” 

If you choose to hold a Safety Stand-Down event for your employees from September 17 until October 31st  2020, you can download a certificate of participation! Since all of this year’s OSHA-hosted events are virtual, any company, large or small, can participate! Check out all of the past and upcoming webinars on this page!

How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down

According to OSHA, companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a “toolbox talk” or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. If your company has never hosted a Safety Stand-Down before, check out these tips for what makes them successful. 

Or let us do all the work by checking out our company-wide OSHA Safety Training Courses. The 14 hour online HD video Safety Suite includes 24 pre-written toolbox talks that cover up-to-date safety information on fall protection and a variety of other safety topics. When you lead your team through the National Safety Stand-Down event, be sure to share pictures with us on social media by tagging us and using #StandDown4Safety!

OSHA Re-Opening FAQs

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a frequently asked questions and answer page on their website to help prevent COVID-19 exposure on the job.

As you continue to increase your time spent on the job this summer, be sure to check the FAQ page often whenever you feel like you might be at risk. Don’t have time to read through every question? Here’s some important information to remember: 

What are the key differences between cloth face coverings and surgical masks?

Cloth face coverings may be commercially produced or improvised (i.e., homemade) garments, scarves, bandanas, or items made from t-shirts or other fabrics. They are NOT considered personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Surgical masks are typically cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as medical devices (though not all devices that look like surgical masks are actually medical-grade, cleared devices). They are used to protect workers against splashes and sprays (i.e., droplets) containing potentially infectious materials. In this capacity, surgical masks are considered PPE.

Should workers wear a cloth face covering while at work, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation for all people to do so when in public?

OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work. Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others. This is known as source control.

If workers wear cloth face coverings, do employers still need to ensure social distancing measures in the workplace?

Yes. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing measures.

Are surgical masks or cloth face coverings acceptable respiratory protection in the construction industry, when respirators would be needed but are not available because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. Employers must not use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed.

Does OSHA have any COVID-19 guidance for the construction industry?

Yes. OSHA released guidance specific to the construction industry.

When can employees who have had COVID-19, or may have had COVID-19, return to work?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance about the discontinuation of home isolation for people with COVID-19. Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved.

As you continue navigating safely returning to work or increasing your workload, remember to visit OSHA’s COVID-19 resource page for official up-to-date regulation information. 

OSHA Tips for Staying Safe This Summer

OSHA and the US Department of Labor recently published a press release reminding both employers and employees to remember necessary precautions for working safely during summer months. Florida's contractors are no strangers to sweltering summer temperatures, but dangerous heat exposure can occur anywhere if the conditions are right.

When working in a warm environment, the human body relies on its ability to get rid of excess heat to maintain a healthy internal body temperature. Heat dissipation happens naturally through sweating and increased blood flow to the skin. Workers cool down more rapidly if the external (environmental) heat and physical activity (metabolic heat) are reduced. If heat dissipation does not happen quickly enough, the internal body temperature keeps rising and the worker may experience symptoms including:

  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • A rash
  • Cramping
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Workers suffering from heatstroke experience mental dysfunction such as unconsciousness, confusion, disorientation, or slurred speech. If you or any of your employees experience these symptoms on a job site, call 911 immediately!

Here are three important tips to remember from OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page to ensure everyone stays safe this summer:

  • Water. Rest. Shade. Workers should drink water every 15 minutes, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas
  • Ensure adequate planning and supervision is in place to keep workers safe in the heat
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure and how to prevent illness

We are happy to help ensure the safety of America’s working men and women by providing workplace safety training in all of our state-approved continuing education packages. Remember, Certified Florida Contractors contractors must renew their licenses by August 31st, 2020!


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Construction Company Fined after Workers Burned by Scalding Oil

Nelcon Inc, a Montana construction company, faces $261,000 in fines after three workers were burned by hot oil at an asphalt plant in Laurel last fall. The safety citation stems from an Oct. 25 incident, where Nelcon employees suffered second and third degree burns while pouring oil into a heating container used for the asphalt-mixing process. The oil heated to 450 degrees reacted with cooler oil and spilled onto the workers.

In a press release by the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA, “OSHA inspectors determined that Nelcon Inc. failed to use fall protection systems; guard machinery; provide adequate personal protective equipment; control hazardous energy; and report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.”

OSHA also issued a health citation that found Nelcon in violation of not providing facilities for flushing eyes and skin that have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, not properly labeling and training for hazardous chemicals.

Our OSHA and safety training courses help you stay compliant with industry regulations and codes. Learn the necessary information to ensure chemical safety in the workplace such as right-to-know information, the Global Harmonizing Information, Safety Data Sheets, and labels.


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4 Safety Practices for the Modern Jobsite

Dodge Data & Analytics (DDA), a provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry, conducted a new study for the Center for Construction Research and Planning (CPWR).

The study asked contractors about specific practices focused on safety like reducing noise levels and fall risks, to broader practices like adopting a safe jobsite climate that includes supervisor mentorship and training.

Dodge Data & Analytics shows four safety best practices that need to become commonplace on jobsites. The study helps reveal ways that the construction industry can still improve practices to help with worker safety, health, and well-being.

For the briefness of this blog, this is how they defined different size construction companies:

  • Large companies: annual revenues of $100 million or more
  • Midsize companies: annual revenues of $10 to $100 million
  • Small companies: annual revenues below $10 million

Manage hazards before construction begins

There is a clear pattern of large companies utilizing more safety practice techniques compared to smaller companies. One area that large companies consistently perform better than smaller ones is advanced hazard planning. 42% of respondents in large companies reported that they believed their company handles advanced planning well—compared to 28% of midsize and 36% of small companies.

A similar trend appears when looking at materials-handling practices. 86% of contractors from large companies reported that they formally plan how materials will be handled once work is awarded, and 72% reported that they meet with employees for a discussion on how materials will be moved. In comparison, small and midsize companies reported they develop a formal plan for material handling, but only 54% conduct those meetings with employees.

Take advantage of online safety tools

According to the study, another way midsize and small companies can help develop jobsite safety is utilize websites and online tools that provide useful information and materials for improving safety.

Surveyors were asked if they used websites from Stop Construction Falls, Choose Hand Safety, CPWR’s Construction Solutions database, as well as the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health. Dodge Data & Analytics states “The gap between the percentage of contractors using them and the percentage who find that they provide value suggests that wider use of these online resources could help contractors access practices and solutions, ultimately helping them improve safety on-site.”

Mentor Subcontractors on Safety Performance

Providing health and safety related mentorship to subcontractors helps with the safety climate of a project by making sure that all workers understand the safety goals and parameters. The findings found that this type of mentorship was not common practice.

58% of respondents from large companies reported this type of safety mentorship on their projects, with small and midsize companies saying 29% and 35% provide it.

Practice Lean Construction Widely

Dodge Data & Analytics describes lean construction as “The goals of eliminating waste and improving the process of construction are frequently supported by enhanced leadership and communication across the organization. These same qualities are essential to enhancing safety, and safety is also a key performance indicator of success for lean projects.”

Many contractors in the study reported that they are familiar with lean construction, which is a huge increase from 53% in a similar study conducted in 2013.  But In the current study only 21% reported implementing lean procedures at their businesses.

Dodge Data & Analytics show there is a lot of safety practices that construction companies can focus on to improve the jobsite climate. Larger companies have the resources to ensure safety practices but there are applications smaller and midsize companies could implement to improve jobsite safety.


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