Construction Safety Consultation-OSHA and State Agencies

OSHA's on-site consultation

 

Nobody knows everything about safety. Unknown safety violations lurk in every industry. Construction safety consultations from some professional source are probably necessary for most companies in order to develop safety programs. Paid consultants can are effective or not. OSHA provides free safety consultations and safety consultations are available at the state level as well. I have included a link to OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program and its  Consultation Directory.

https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html

https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult_directory.html 

At this site, you can enter your State from a drop down menu and the program department, responsible office, and physical address will populate the information chart along with email and website links.

I can relate the positive experience I have had with the Consultative Services Bureau, North Carolina’s version of OSHA’s On-Site Consultation program. I can’t explain the program better than this linked program brochure.

Construction Safety Consultations – Needed at this project

I was visiting the construction site for the first time As the new construction manager, I was assuming responsibility for this project of nearly 200 apartments. The site superintendent was approaching for our first meeting as I surveyed the apartment buildings under construction. The roofers were shingling the first building while framers laid plywood on the roof of the second. Further down the road roof trusses were being set in another building and still further down the road floor trusses were being set on another.I could not see any personal protective equipment in use by any of the forty or so workers within my view; no hard hats, no harnesses, and no shirts in some cases.

By this time the superintendent, clad in tennis shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and baseball cap was close. He picked his way through a pile of discarded bracing bristling with nails. All grins when he introduced himself and shook my hand, he became defensive and offended when I quizzed him about the lack of his personal safety readiness and that of his site. He explained that it was just the way the company did things. I was questioning the wisdom of accepting the position.

Construction Safety Consultations – All Projects Considered

This was the only site the company had under construction but I knew four other sites that size or larger would soon start and that they were all visible from Interstates, other major highways or busy city thoroughfares as was this site.

The safety manager later explained that the CEO and key subcontractors were all comfortable with the status quo.

The company debated safety compliance for months. The company risked citations, fines, increased insurance premiums, and lawsuits. None of the projects complied and each new project added exposure. Eventually, it was agreed that safety compliance program and implementation was needed. I accepted the task of bringing the company into safety compliance.

Construction Safety Consultations – NC Consultative Services Bureau

The job happened to be in North Carolina so this is when I reached out to the Consultative Services Bureau; a division of the NC Department of Labor.

The consultation was free but it was worth a lot. The information we received was directly from the NCDOL. No paid safety consultant delivered an overly interpreted, watered-down or embellished report of the site visit. The Bureau assured me that the NCCSB would not issue citations while our company remained engaged in the program. Rather,  NCCSB would continue to work with the company and its subcontractors to achieve a safe work environment. The NCCSB consultant told me to alert any encountered compliance inspectors that we were working with CSB.

This insulation from compliance inspections and potential citations gave me a certain level of comfort.  The company then worked through the process of instituting an effective safety program company-wide. From NCDOL’s perspective, they voiced appreciation for the efforts by the company to achieve compliance.

 

 

 

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