OSHA Plans Voluntary Program to Improve Construction Safety

September 10, 2004

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to establish a Voluntary Protection Program designed exclusively for the construction industry with the intention of reducing construction site injuries at construction sites.

Unlike previous voluntary programs which focused on specific work sites, the new program will encourage voluntary safety efforts. General contractors with short-term projects and subcontractors will also be allowed to participate in the program.

Companies participating in the Voluntary Protection Program who maintain excellent safety programs will receive recognition from OSHA, and will be exempt from routine inspections. Participants in the VPP currently have an injury rate that is 50 percent below the average rate for their industries.

OSHA hopes that by allowing more construction companies to join VPP, there will be a significant reduction in the number of injuries in one of the nation's most hazardous industries. The agency also suggested that VPP participation also might create a competitive edge for construction companies due to higher standards safety and health excellence.

OSHA will accept comments on the Voluntary Protection Program until Oct. 30.




New OSHA Ergonomics Guidelines Published

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published new guidelines to assist in the reduction of ergonomic-related injuries in the poultry processing industry.

In the Guidelines for Poultry Processing, OSHA offers recommendations to employers to help reduce the number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) throughout the poultry processing industry.

The poultry processing industry joins the nursing home and retail grocery store industries in following OSHAÆs strategy to reduce ergonomic-related injuries through voluntary, industry-specific ergonomics guidelines.




South Carolina Contractor Receives OSHA Citation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited contractor Kira Inc. for alleged cave-in hazards at a Fort Jackson, SC excavation site. The citation includes proposed penalties of $91,000 against the firm. The Miami-based company may contest the OSHA citation within 15 days before an independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The federal government has jurisdiction on military posts and other federal property. Safety and health citations in the state are usually conducted by the South Carolina Department of Labor.

Inspectors discovered a collapsed shoring system and water accumulation in an excavation at a building being waterproofed at the site. Susanne Street, OSHA's director in Columbia, said that the considerable penalties against Kira Inc., arose from a willful disregarded for employee safety. Kira Inc. claims that problems at Fort Jackson have been fixed, and hopes to work with OSHA to reduce the fine.