Construction Safety Requirements

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Hearing Protection

Feasible engineering or administrative controls must be utilized to protect employees against sound levels in excess of those shown in Table D-2 of the OSHA Standard

When engineering or administrative controls fail to reduce sound levels within the limits of Table D-2, ear protective devices must be provided and used. In all cases where the sound levels exceed the values shown in Table D-2, a continuing, effective hearing conservation program must be administered. A hearing conservation program in construction should include the following elements:

  • monitoring employee noise exposures,

  • using engineering, work practice and administrative controls, and personal protective equipment,48

  • fitting each overexposed employee with appropriate hearing protectors, • training employees in the effects of noise and protection measures,

  • explaining procedures for preventing further hearing loss, and

  • recordkeeping

Exposure to impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level. Plain cotton is not an acceptable protective device.

Heating Devices (Temporary)

When heating devices are used, fresh air must be supplied in sufficient quantities to maintain the health and safety of workers. Solid fuel salamanders are prohibited in buildings and on scaffolds.

Hoists, Material, and Personnel

The employer must comply with the manufacturer’s specifications and limitations.

Rated load capacities, recommended operating speeds, and special hazard warnings or instructions must be posted on cars and platforms.

Hoistway entrances of material hoists must be protected by substantial full width gates or bars. Hoistway doors or gates of personnel hoist must be not less than 6 feet 6 inches high and must be protected with mechanical locks that cannot be operated from the landing side and that are accessible only to persons on the car.


Overhead protective coverings must be provided on the top of the hoist cage or platform.

All material hoists must conform to the requirements of ANSI A10.5-1969, Safety Requirements for Material Hoists.


Form and scrap lumber with protruding nails and all other debris must be kept clear from all work areas. Combustible scrap and debris must be removed at regular intervals.
Containers must be provided for collection and separation of all refuse. Covers must be provided on containers used for flammable or harmful substances.

Wastes must be disposed of at frequent intervals.


Construction areas, ramps, runways, corridors, offices, shops, and storage areas must be lighted to not less than the minimum illumination intensities listed in Table D-3 while any work is in progress..51

Minimum Illumination Intensities in Footcandles

5 Footcandles -- General construction area lighting.

3 Footcandles --General construction areas, concrete placement, excavation, waste areas, accessways, active storage areas, loading platforms, refueling, and field maintenance areas.
5 Footcandles -- Indoor warehouses, corridors, hallways, and exitways.
5 Footcandles -- Tunnels, shafts, and general under-ground work areas. (Exception: minimum of 10 footcandles is required at tunnel and shaft heading during drilling, mucking, and scaling. Bureau of Mines approved cap lights must be acceptable for use in the tunnel heading).
10 Footcandles -- General construction plant and shops (e.g., batch plants, screening plants, mechanical and electrical equipment rooms, carpenters shops, rigging lofts and active store rooms, barracks or living quarters, locker or dressing rooms, mess halls, indoor toilets, and workrooms).
30 Footcandles -- First-aid stations, infirmaries, and offices.


Portable and fixed ladders with structural defects— such as broken or missing rungs, cleats or steps, broken or split rails, or corroded components—must be withdrawn from service by immediately tagging “DO NOT USE” or marking in a manner that identifies them as defective, or must be blocked, such as with a plywood attachment that spans several rungs. Repairs must restore ladder to its original design criteria.
Portable non-self-supporting ladders must be placed on a substantial base, have clear access at top and bottom, and be placed at an angle so the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter the working length of the ladder. Portable ladders used for access to an upper landing surface must extend a minimum of 3 feet above the landing surface, or where not practical, be provided with grab rails and be secured against movement while in use.
Ladders must have nonconductive siderails if they are used where the worker or the ladder could contact energized electrical conductors or equipment.
Job-made ladders must be constructed for their intended use. Cleats must be uniformly spaced not less than 10 inches apart, nor more than 14 inches apart.
A ladder (or stairway) must be provided at all work points of access where there is a break in elevation of 19 inches r more except if a suitable ramp, runway, embankment, or personnel hoist is provided to give safe access to all elevations.
Wood job-made ladders with spliced side rails must be used at an angle where the horizontal distance is one-eighth the working length of the ladder.

Fixed ladders must be used at a pitch no greater than 90 degrees from the horizontal, measured from the back side of the ladder.

Ladders must be used only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental movement.
Ladders must not be used on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement. Slip-resistant feet must not be used as a substitute for the care in placing, lashing, or holding a ladder upon a slippery surface.
Employers must provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways. The program must enable each employee to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways and to use proper procedures to minimize these hazards. For example, employers must ensure that each employee is trained by a competent person in the following areas:

  • Nature of fall hazards in the work area;

  • 54

  • Correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems to be used;

  • Proper construction, use, placement, and care in handling of all stairways and ladders; and

  • Maximum intended load-carrying capacities of ladders used.

In addition, retraining must be provided for each employee, as necessary, so that the employee maintains the understanding and knowledge acquired through compliance with OSHA standard 1926.1060

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