Government Regulations That Are Changing Things Up in the Industry

June 1, 2018 Karli Langner

There are more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry. On any given day there are roughly 252,000 active construction sites and 6.5 million workers exposed to workplace safety hazards like falls, trench or scaffold collapses, electrical shock, and injuries tied to equipment use or repetitive or strenuous motion. Besides the human suffering, the accidents annually account for $10 billion in construction costs.

Government regulations on the federal, state and local levels are increasingly shaking things up in the construction industry. Construction workers engage in many activities that may expose them to serious hazards, such as falling from rooftops, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos. We’ve summarized some of the latest regulations regarding construction, paving, excavating, and driving materials below.

OSHA has developed a webpage to provide workers and employers useful, up-to-date information on the Construction Industry. 

  • Confined Spaces - People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation. See regulations here - https://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20150504.pdf
  • Fall Prevention Campaign – Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, but most are preventable. Training is available.
  • Electrical Power Standard - The final rule includes new or revised requirements for fall protection, minimum approach distances, and arc-flash protection, and for host employers and contract employers to exchange safety-related information. The final rule also includes requirements for electrical protective equipment. Final Q&A here.
  • Trenching and Evacuation Safety is very critical to understand because cave-ins can and do occur. OSHA requires that workers in trenches and excavations be protected and suggest a trench safety stand down.
  • Construction and maintenance of Communication Towers requires workers to climb up and down towers which are often in excess of 1000 to 2000 feet. Many accidents can happen from falls and electrical hazards. Resources are available here.
  • Cranes and Derricks – many safety rules need to be taken into consideration when operating a crane or derrick or when working near them. A collection of federal registrations is here.

OSHA regularly conducts inspections of collapses and other incidents that have occurred, generating reports of their findings in hopes to identify problems in design, engineering or project management.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HoS) rules were established in 2011, with updates in 2017, to limit driving time for truck drivers to help improve safety on the roads. The rules are summarized as:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit – may drive a max of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • 14-Hour Limit - May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
  • Rest Breaks - May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. 
  • 60/70-Hour Limit - May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. 
  • Sleeper Berth Provision - Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
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