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Occupational Safety & Health Administration

344 Smoke Tree Business Park
North Aurora, Illinois 60542
(630) 896-8700


OSHA Update for Construction

February 19, 1997

1. All 100% plastic rebar caps are prohibited for impalement protection. They are acceptable for scratch protection only.

2. All companies in Aurora's jurisdiction that were inspected recently for scaffolds have not trained their employees in new scaffold changes. This change was effective November 29, 1996.

3. Two of the four elements for the employee misconduct defense are effective inspections and consistent and progressive enforcement when the noncompliance with rules is discovered. These elements of the defense are to be proved by the employer. It is not credible to an outside judge that the only time that employees did not follow the rule was during the OSHA inspection. Approximately 85% of the cases heard by OSHA Review Commision in the last ten years have found in favor of OSHA when this defense was raised.

4. Aurora's Fall LEP will account for most construction inspections in the upcoming year. Worst problem areas continue to be metal decking fall protection, aerial lift tie-off, sloped roof slide protection, wire rope guardrails, and unguardred scaffolds.

5. Credible enforcement presence is a term used frequently in OSHA. Critics across the nation are saying we did not conduct enough inspections last year to deter noncompliance. Locally, we have been told we are out there less, but citing multi-employer citations for the construction manager/general contractor has changed the safety on the sites positively. This year, we are committed to a stronger presence at worksites. Count on seeing us more often.

6. Our office is pulling nationwide history for every contractor inspected. We have a new computer system and are able to search companys' histories instantly. Several out of state contractors have had extensive history. Many local contractors have been cited repeatedly for the same unsafe condition among the three Chicago land offices. Multiple violators will no longer escape "repeat" violation violations and high penalties.

7. Deficient accident prevention programs are still the most cited standard in Aurora. Fifty percent of companies inspected under the FALL LEP do not have a single rule for the number one killer in their craft, but easily have 100+ pages devoted to hazard communication.

8. Aurora office has conducted 14 depositions and issued 5 subpeonas to contractors in 1996. Most of these cases were not the result of an accident. Citations in these cases ranged from $3500 to $149,000.

9. Ninety percent of the construction companies where the hazard communication materials were reviewed did not have MSDS's for the chemical used on the site. The worst example was a company having 50 data sheets in their book, none matching the chemicals onsite.

10. Our office is still seeing non-shock absorbing lanyards used for fall arrest in aerial lifts. The lanyard must meet either 1926.502(d)(16), 1910.66, or ANSI Z359 requirements.

11. Masonry wall bracing is still a problem in the Chicagoland areal. Many contractors have no basis for their bracing systems. OSHA will not allow a wet wall to be built 16 feet without adequate bracing.

12. OSHA is citing the construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) for hazards that the subcontractor may be exposed to or that the subcontractor created. We have been reviewing contracts between the owner and CM/GC to see who is responsible for site safety. 1926.16 states that "In no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall responsibility for compliance with the requirements of this part for all work to be performed under contract."

13. Aurora OSHA office is building a database of E-mail addresses to send out current information, including the construction update. Contact charlie.shields@aurora.osha.gov to be on the electronic mailing list.

Any comments to John Newquist - OSHA (630) 896-8700, FAX (630) 892-2160.

E-mail at john.newquist@aurora.osha.gov


Original articles © WorkCare™; Orange, California.