The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. The agency sets safety compliance requirements when remodeling a commercial space, such as a factory or manufacturing facility.
What Are the Safety Considerations in Commercial Remodeling?
According to OSHA, “nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.”
OSHA lists the following potential hazards for workers:
- Falls (from heights)
- Trench collapse
- Scaffold collapse
- Electric shock and arc flash/arc blast
- Failure to use proper personal protective equipment
- Repetitive motion injuries
These safety compliance requirements include accident prevention responsibilities. It’s important to rectify any conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to a person’s health or safety. When planning or executing a commercial remodeling project, there are many important safety aspects to consider, like those below. Precautions must be taken in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people on your commercial remodeling site.
OSHA recommends paying specific attention to the following issues which generate the most frequent citations:
- Fall protection (scope, application, definitions)
- Excavations (general requirements)
- Head protection
- Excavations (requirements for protective systems)
- Hazard communication
- Fall protection (training requirements)
- Construction (general safety and health provisions)
- Electrical (wiring methods, design, and protection)
You’ll notice that fall protection citations are listed twice. This is because there is a myriad of hazards associated with falls. For that reason, throughout the rest of this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at fall protection solutions.
Leading Edge Fall Protection or Flat Roof Edge Hazard Prevention
Fall protection doesn’t have to be cumbersome or expensive. Temporary and removable guardrails can provide a simple, low-cost solution. Products like a 360 mobile safety rail can provide broad fall protection, which is essential to ensuring the safety within your project space. If you have leading edges or flat roof edges in the commercial facility that’s being remodeled, you definitely need to take hazards into account. With a removable safety railing, you can ensure that your safety standards are met and do not have to commit to having a safety railing in any specific area.
Spend now to save later
The fact is, most safety solutions will save you money in the long run. For example, the 360 mobile safety rail system described above is designed for flat roof edge protection, but can also be utilized for leading edge fall protection hazards of all types. Selecting products that serve multiple purposes is a great cost-containment trick!
Look for products that advertise OSHA compliance
OSHA provides safety checklists to assist with site compliance. These checklists can make it much easier to ensure you’re taking all necessary precautions in areas like eye, face, head and hand protection, scaffolding and electrical safety, elevated surfaces, hazard communications and crane and forklift safety – just to name a few. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the list of safety standards, you can save time by using a simple trick: look for products that are OSHA compliant.
Let’s return to our mobile safety rail example. This freestanding safety rail system provides a protective barrier for workers, such as employees, construction workers or contractors, who are exposed to leading edges greater than 42”. The product uses cast iron bases and powder-coated safety yellow or galvanized steel guardrails to effectively eliminate fall hazards. The manufacturers have already assumed the cost of certifying that their rail is an OSHA compliant product. As a result, you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in full compliance with the law.
Best of all, many products are not only cost-effective and OSHA certified, they’re also easy to install. Take a look at this except from the safety rail installation instructions:
To install the system, simply place the durable bases next to your fall hazard, insert the rail sections into one of the four posts located at each base, and then slide a pin into the pre-drilled hole to secure your system.
Repeat the process until the end of the run where the outrigger is placed at a 90-degree angle from the leading edge. Doing so ensures that the system meets all required OSHA load tests.
It’s as simple as that!
Safety responsibilities should not be taken lightly. The best defense against citations is ensuring the safety of everyone involved in any commercial remodeling project. Remember, for every potential hazard, there is a solution. With a little research, you can find fantastic products to keep employees safe and avoid expensive government fines!