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ASSE Standards Play Critical Role in Hazard Reduction for Construction Workers

Posted in on Wed, Apr 13, 2011

During the last 100 years, the construction industry has seen considerable changes and advancements in technology designed to protect workers on the job.  From the nonexistent fall protection measures used in the 1930’s during the construction of the Empire State Building, to the complex harness systems in place today for protecting workers, the constant evolution and innovation to protect industry workers is critical to saving lives.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry stands out from others as having one of the highest worker injury and fatality rates.  American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) members work each day to identify hazards in all industries, including construction, and create critical systems to reduce risk and keep workers safe.  Several ASSE American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards projects and the ASSE Construction Practice Specialty focus on the construction industry and best practices to significantly reduce risk, helping thousands of employees to return home safely from work each day.

ASSE serves as secretariat for several ANSI national standards projects that focus directly on construction-related topics and providing best practices for contractors, site managers and employees to create safer work environments at construction sites.  Standards like the A10.28 standard, titled Safety Requirements for Work Platforms Suspended from Cranes or Derricks, provide best practices for operating in this type of a work environment to ensure maximum hazard reduction.  This standard focuses on dangerous work that involves performing work at elevations that are unreachable by scaffold or sturdy aerial work platforms, and on transporting personnel to elevations where other means of access are unsafe or impractical.  Through use of ASSE’s ANSI standards, site managers and contractors can create safer work environments where risk to employees is significantly reduced.

The A10.11 standard, Safety Requirements for Personnel and Debris Nets, also provides valuable guidelines for creating safer work environments for construction site employees.  The use of this standard has significantly increased over the past six months and it has been used repeatedly in regards to regulatory compliance.  This standard establishes safety requirements for the selection, installation and use of personnel and debris nets during construction, repair and demolition operations, with the best practices presented in the standard significantly reducing risk to employees.

The ASSE Construction Practice Specialty provides an excellent professional forum for ASSE’s global community of safety professionals in the industry.  The Practice Specialty works to advance construction issues that affect safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals by providing networking and professional development opportunities, technical resources and much more for the construction safety and health professional.  Many members of this Practice Specialty work on ANSI standards projects with ASSE and work diligently to advance safety and health as a primary part of the construction field. For more information on the ASSE Construction Practice Specialty, please visit www.asse.org/ construction, or contact Construction Practice Specialty administrator Mike Hayslip at hayslip@aol.com.

As you see more construction sites in your communities and roadways in the coming months, ASSE notes that there are several important things to remember when in the vicinity of construction sites and road work areas.  Construction sites are full of hazards and dangerous machinery, and safety professionals on-site and behind regulatory materials work diligently to eliminate or significantly reduce risk to construction workers and the general public.  Always remember to pay attention to flagger instructions.  These construction team members know exactly what is happening on construction sites and provide critical instructions to motorists and pedestrians to help them avoid injury.  Also, never walk behind heavy construction machinery.  Workers operating heavy construction equipment sometimes cannot see pedestrians or motorists behind their vehicles, so following flagger instructions and avoiding walking near or behind heavy construction machinery will considerably reduce your risk.  Be aware of your surroundings and always slow down for construction zones and construction works when operating a motor vehicle.

For more information about ASSE’s work with ANSI and current standards, please visit www.asse.org/standards. Standards play a critical role in the field of occupational safety and health, providing a set of regulations and level of excellence that must be met. Standards help businesses improve safety and quality of life for employees, while enhancing competitive advantage for global businesses.  The ASSE standards development committees work diligently to provide the most up-to-date standards to aid in regulating dangerous work activities.

Founded in 1911 and celebrating its centennial, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment.  Its more than 33,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, healthcare and education.  For more information, please go to www.asse.org and to view the new ASSE – A Century of Safety film go to www.asse.org/assecenturyofsafety.



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