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The Many Benefits of Site-Specific Safety & Health Plans

LHSFNA Management Co-Chairman David F. Rampone

For years, the LHSFNA’s OSH Division has assisted LIUNA signatory contractors with developing written safety and health programs. These programs outline safe work procedures, employee’s rights and responsibilities, and are an integral part of protecting workers’ health and safety.

Recently, the LHSFNA has moved towards recommending that employers supplement their larger safety and health program with site-specific programs. Just as task-specific training helps workers stay up to date on the hazards they may face on a given workday, site-specific safety and health programs are tailored to the hazards and circumstances of a single project.

“Today’s complex construction projects call for a modern approach to safety and health on the jobsite,” says LHSFNA Management Co-Chairman David F. Rampone. “Site-specific plans use pre-job planning to assess and address hazards. They also include essential information, such as muster points and procedures around contacting emergency responders in a crisis.”

Benefits of Site-Specific Safety and Health Programs

One potential hurdle with one-size-fits-all safety and health programs is that it can be more challenging to convey all that information to workers.

“Having a comprehensive plan is great, but if it’s 400 pages and collects dust on a shelf, it’s not helping to keep workers safe,” said Ryan R. Papariello, the LHSFNA’s Safety and Health Specialist. “The potential hazards need to be clear to workers, but they also need to be clear to supervisors and crew leaders so that safe work practices can be communicated.”

Another area to consider is that during an OSHA inspection, employers can be cited for not following the policies set forth in their safety and health programs.

“We always stress to contractors that they need to follow through with what’s laid out in their written program,” said Papariello. “A shorter, site-specific plan an employer can actually implement is better than one that’s so comprehensive that it’s impossible to follow for that jobsite.”

In today’s construction market, more project owners are starting to require the inclusion of site-specific safety and health programs during the bidding process. These site-specific programs must also follow state, municipal and local ordinances.

Turning Site Visits into Site-Specific Programs

While site-specific programs should be put in place before a project starts, they can also be helpful in strengthening jobsite safety after work begins. Site-specific plans can be used to target specific hazards that have led to injuries and lay out the safe work practices around those hazards.

“Tailoring a program to the needs of the project can also help improve safety culture,” said Papariello. “Workers respond positively when they see their employer really cares about their safety. What sends that message better than a plan customized to identify and prevent the hazards they’ll face?”

LIUNA signatory contractors can request a site visit or assistance with site-specific safety and health programs by using the Services dashboard or Contact Us form.

[Nick Fox]

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