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August 16, 1995

New program for contractors narrows focus of safety inspections

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries announced today a new approach to worker safety inspections at construction sites that will focus on the top hazards causing the most construction-related injuries and fatalities.

"This program makes good business sense. It will help employers pay special attention to standards that have a direct correlation to injuries and fatalities," Mark O. Brown, director of Labor & Industries, said. "Focusing on what we know causes injuries and fatalities will be a better use of our resources and will positively affect workers' compensation rates."

Washington data shows that most construction fatalities between 1991 and 1993 involved motor vehicles, falls, being struck by an object, caught in or between an object and electrical shock.

A construction site is not automatically eligible for a focused inspection. To qualify, contractors must have the following:

  • A designated person on site who knows about the employer's safety program and the safety and health equipment at the site. This person must be able to identify and correct safety and health hazards and provide training to correct unsafe practices.
  • An accident-prevention plan.
  • Training and safety meeting records and records of the contractor's safety oversight of subcontractors. Accident and injury logs, weekly walkaround inspection reports and personal protective job hazard analysis also will be considered.
  • Fall protection work plans, engineering surveys, demolition plans and hazard communication programs also will be required if they apply to a particular site.

L&I will continue to conduct comprehensive inspections of sites not qualified for a focused inspection.

"This is a strategy to look at what's causing the injuries and fatalities and to work with employers to bring those numbers down," Brown said.

Focused inspections are the first phase of a larger strategy to reduce injuries and illnesses. The second phase is a pilot program for construction inspections allowing employers to avoid most routine inspections by certifying compliance with rigorous self-inspections.

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