In the 12 months from October 2018 through September 2019, the most recent period reported by OSHA, the workplace safety agency cited the following standardsmore than any other in the 28 states which do not have OSHA-approved state plans, including Colorado:
- 1926.501 – Duty to have fall protection – included in 459 citations, resulting in $2,475,596 in penalties ($5,393/citation);
- 1926.451 – General requirements for scaffolds – included in 265 citations, resulting in $834,324 in penalties ($3,148/citation);
- 1926.1053 – Requirements for ladders including job-made ladders – included in 164 citations, resulting in $354,853 in penalties ($2,163/citation);
- 1926.503 – Training requirements related to fall protection – included in 114 citations, resulting in $156,076 in penalties ($1,369/citation);
- 1926.405 – Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use – included in 93 citations, resulting in $150,821 in penalties ($1,621/citation);
- 1926.20 – General safety and health provisions – included in 85 citations, resulting in $328,491 in penalties ($3,864/citation);
- 1926.1052 – Requirements for stairways – included in 79 citations, resulting in $155,651 in penalties ($1,970/citation);
- 1926.102 – Requirements for eye and face protection – included in 67 citations, resulting in $165,595 in penalties ($2,471/citation);
- 1926.403 – General requirements for electrical conductors and equipment – included in 63 citations, resulting in $146,050 in penalties ($2,318/citation), and;
- 1926.100 – Requirements for head protection – included in 55 citations, resulting in $127,274 in penalties ($2,314/citation).
For those companies facing a slow-down in production related to the COVID-19 outbreak, it may be a good time to revamp safety programs. A good place to start this process is the OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start webpage. Note that pursuant to OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy, construction jobsites can involve multiple employers (i.e., general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, etc.), each of which may be liable for OSHA violations. OSHA’s construction standard 1926.20(b) requires construction employers to have accident prevention programs that provide for frequent and regular inspection of the jobsites, materials, and equipment by competent persons designated by the employers.
For those companies interested in instituting a safety & health program, or reevaluating the program they have in place, three good resources include OSHA’s Construction eTool: Safety & Health Program Component, its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction, and its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.
As OSHA states in the Foreword to its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction:
Establishing a safety and health program at your job site is one of the most effective ways of protecting your most valuable asset: your workers. Losing workers to injury or illness, even for a short time, can cause significant disruption and cost – to you as well as the workers and their families. It can also damage workplace morale, productivity, turnover, and reputation.
Particularly with respect to health and safety, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus admonished each week on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.” In the construction industry, this starts with a good safety and health program; take this time to reevaluate yours now.
For additional information regarding OSHA violations, or construction litigation in Colorado, you can reach out to Dave McLain by telephone at (303) 987-9813 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The full list of standards applicable to the construction industry can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1926.