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Proposed OSHA changes aim to reduce construction worker injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has the important mission of overseeing the working conditions of those in Connecticut, and nationwide, to ensure that conditions are healthful and safe. Part of OSHA's job is to enforce standards that aim to prevent dangerous workplace accidents, including construction accidents. OSHA has recently proposed numerous standards changes with the ultimate goal of promoting workplace health and safety. The proposed changes affect a number of industries, including the construction industry.

One proposed change would affect employers and workers engaged in underground construction, allowing employers to use French decompression tables, rather than the decompression tables which are currently used but are outdated. This revision aims to protect those men and women who are working in pressurized underground construction sites.

For those workers who are involved in excavation, a proposed change would clarify that there is presumed to be a hazard when there is loose soil or rock and either excavating equipment or excavated material next to a trench. The revised standard would clarify the duty of employers when such a situation exists so as to hopefully prevent construction accidents.

Furthermore, in an effort to reduce any injuries that may occur in a construction worker accident, a proposed revision to OSHA's standards clarifies what is required of employers in terms of personal protective equipment for construction workers, including the requirement that employers must choose personal protective equipment that is properly fitted to each employee.

Currently, comments are being accepted before any changes take effect. Should these standards take effect, it appears that they would offer the great benefit of improved safety conditions for Connecticut construction workers.

Source: OSHA, "OSHA's Standards Improvement Project, Proposed Revisions," Oct. 2016

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