The second annual Safe + Sound Week will be held from August 13 to August 19, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. Organizations will be encouraged to host activities and events showcasing the “core elements of an effective safety and health.”
“These programs can help employers and workers identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving a company’s financial bottom line,” according to promotional materials for the event. Organizations are encouraged to highlight leadership, identification and mitigation of hazards in the workplace and worker participation.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), worker deaths and injuries have decreased by 60% in the wake of safety-themed legislation passed close to 40 years ago. However, more than 4,500 workers are still killed each year at construction sites.
Further, 4.1 million workers are seriously injured at work or acquire job-related illness. “Serious job-related injuries or illnesses don't just hurt workers and their families, but can hurt business in a variety of ways. Implementing a safety and health program, however, can improve small- and medium-sized businesses' safety and health performance, save money, and improve competitiveness,” information from OSHA reads.
The federal agency, which is one of the cosponsors of the Safe + Sound event, advocates using the week to spark interest in workplace safety by augmenting existing programs or providing a catalyst to start one. “Safe workplaces are sound businesses. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started or energize an existing one,” according to information from OSHA.
Frequently cited safety infractions include lack of fall protection:
- For activities six feet or more above a lower level
- On unprotected edges
- On low-slope roofs
- On scaffolds higher than 10 feet up.
Citations for lack of protective equipment for the head, eyes or face, and a lack of “frequent or regular inspections of job sites, materials, and equipment by a competent person,” states the federal agency, are also common. Silica, which is cited by OSHA as a specific hazard, recently was the subject of new safety regulations unrelated to the Safe + Sound initiative.
The new standard pertained to the 8-hour time-weighted average for permissible exposure “limit, action level, and associated ancillary requirements,” reads a statement from last week. It states: “During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will offer compliance assistance for employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. OSHA intends to issue interim enforcement guidance until a compliance directive on the new standards is finalized.”