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Understanding the Contractors OSHA asbestos Standards and Regulations

Be Sure to Adhere to OSHA Asbestos Regulations.

Be Sure to Adhere to OSHA Asbestos Regulations.

When owning and operating a contracting company, it is important to follow OSHA rules and regulations.  Disregard for such standards will not only leave you liable to lawsuits, but open the doors for OSHA and give them the opportunity to fine your organization.  One of the most common issues when doing renovations or home improvement projects is Asbestos.  By controlling and moderating worksites that have asbestos, you eliminate the number of accidents and incidents.  Take some time to learn and understand OSHA Asbestos standards and regulations, or you will be facing heavy fines and potentially lose your licenses to operate.

The first thing one must do as a contractor is conduct an asbestos survey.  This can be done either by the property owner or a building inspector.  A summary of these results must be communicated to your workers and posted on the job site.  If in fact asbestos is found there are three things you can do.

As a contractor, your first option would be to walk away.  If this isn’t an option, working around the asbestos may be possible.  It is important not to disturb affected areas as the asbestos could get airborne.

The second option would be to reseal or encapsulate the infected area.  As long as it is not disrupted you will not be penalized.  Such an example would be using duct tape to reseal exposed asbestos on a heating pipe.  Both penetrating encapsulants and bridging encapsulants can be used when resealing is not a viable solution.  Encapsulants are like a coat of paint which cover affected areas to seal them off entirely.  The risk with encapsulants is that water damage may undue the bond which is created over time.

The third, and highest risk option, would be to remove it.  Friable asbestos must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor.  The only exception would be if the project occurred at a single family house and the owner was the one doing the work.  Removal must be in compliance with the Regulation III, section 4.05 standards for removal and 4.07 standards for disposal.  In addition, an asbestos/demolition notification and filing fee must be submitted before removal.  Depending on the size, it could take up to 10 days.  Non-friable asbestos must be removed and disposed in accordance to Regulation III section 4.05 but does not require any notifications.  Be sure to properly dispose of all asbestos by taking it to an authorized disposal waste facility and complete a waste material shipment record for your own records.

Understanding the OSHA Asbestos Standards and regulations will not only help you adhere to the laws but it will also ensure that the environment is protected.  Do the right thing, or you will be facing heavy fines and possibly lose your license as a contractor.

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Avoiding Nail Gun Injuries On The Job!

Work-site safety is always a concern of both the workers and owners of a company.  On Wednesday we spoke briefly about proper nail gun safety for contractors.  Today we will go more in depth and explain each safety precaution and its implication on insurance rates.

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Danger! Helmets and Hard Hats Must Be Worn AT ALL TIMES!

Anyone doing construction work is subject to some pretty brutal weather conditions all year round. Understandably so, at the peak of a summer’s heat wave, the last thing you may be interested in adding to your attire is a bulky hard hat before stepping into your construction zone. But on a very basic level, helmets and hard hats are crucial to the well-being of everyone on a contractor’s payroll.

While there are no specifications by job title as to who should and should not be wearing a protective helmet within a work area, the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines provide examples of roles in which hard hat wear is beneficial. These include, “carpenters, electricians, lineman, mechanics and repairers, plumbers and pip fitters, assemblers, packers, wrappers, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.

The textbook language involved in understanding the safety issues of helmets and hard hats safety is fairly overwhelming, but when you take a look at what’s recommended for the Service Life of this equipment, it becomes much clearer how the cons of wearing a big, bulky helmet are overshadowed by the pros:

Beyond the obvious benefits of wearing a helmet, such as having things dropped on your head, being hit from the side, or coming into contact with electrical shocks, ultraviolet (UV) radiation is an element that your helmet is defending you from that you may not have even considered, and the damage it causes is easy to see; your once shiny, new helmet will become weathered and appear chalky after its surface has been deteriorated by repeated use in direct sunlight. If the sun can do that to your helmet, imagine the alternative of what it could do to your head! The OSHA suggests immediately replacing your helmet once the damage caused by UV radiation causes its shell to start flaking away. A helmet is a cheap alternative to dealing with the degradation of your head!

If looking too much like the rest of the pack is one of your causes for concern, the OSHA has already addressed some of the issues you may have. It is fully acceptable to paint or adhere stickers to the outside of your helmet if you feel the need to personalize it a bit. In addition, hard hats marked with the “reverse donning arrow” icon are approved to be worn backwards, if that’s more your style.

While there’s no questioning that wearing a hard hat while at work makes the job much sweatier, the risk of going without one could easily result in injuries that would pull you out of work altogether, and nobody wants that. Protecting your head is protecting your ability to work and to provide for yourself and your family, so strap on your helmet and get out there!

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Worker Safety and Health Affecting Insurance Premiums

Always Keep Worker Safety In Mind.

Always Keep Worker Safety In Mind.

Every contractor needs to be insured.  In order to do this you must comply with U.S. Department of Labor regulations as well as follow legislation by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Insurance carriers are firm believers in what the OSHA has to say about insurance because their regulations help prevent injuries and illness.  These regulations are designed to keep the risk of liability lower and helps improve the bottom line.  If your contracting business is found guilty of OSHA violations, insurance companies will view you as more of a risk.  This increased risk is what causes insurance premiums to rise.  In order to keep costs down for your insurance coverage be sure to avoid violating OSHA rules and regulations.

Every contractor is responsible to abide by the regulations set forth by the OSHA.  Even if your company only has a few employees, it is not immune from the law.  The most basic responsibilities as a Contractor are to inform workers of dangerous or harmful work environments and situations.  It is your duty to help them recognize unsafe conditions and eliminate any exposure to hazards and illness.  Simply put, the OSHA needs proof from you, showing that you have properly trained in informed your employees.  Training is required on a yearly basis, so be sure to keep on top of it.

Lastly, the OSHA requires that one competent person be on every job site, meaning that someone who is capable of identifying issues in the surround work environment.  They are required to point out things that are, “unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees,” and just have the, “authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”  Finally, it is up to the contractor to maintain a safety program which provides inspections and checks to the materials and equipment.  This inspection is key to maintaining a good standing with OSHA. Make sure you always have worker safety in mind.