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Construction Safety

Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS) has developed programs to help front-line supervisors and workers with their efforts to comply with OSHA regulations during construction and maintenance work. The programs will also help ensure the safety of University employees, students, and the public who may be in proximity to renovation, demolition, installation, or maintenance operations conducted by university employees. Every department is expected to take steps as necessary to protect the safety and health of University employees, students, and visitors to the University. Department heads, directors, faculty members and supervisors are considered directly responsible for maintaining full compliance with OSHA regulations and University safety policies and procedures.

The information contained in various programs provides guidelines for the safe use of equipment and performance of various types of work. The manufacturer's literature for equipment or machinery, specific programs referenced in this document, and/or REHS personnel should be consulted prior to conducting work that may expose employees to a hazard not covered by these programs.

Where other more in-depth training may be required; the training is generally available through REHS, though some specialized training (for example, Scaffold Erecting Safety Training) may require the services of an outside consultant. Specialized training must be coordinated with REHS so that accurate training records can be maintained. The costs associated with specialized training may need to be offset by the requesting department.

Scope and Application
This program applies to all Rutgers University properties and to all construction, renovation and maintenance work performed by Rutgers University employees regardless of jobsite location. All employees who face a risk of injury as a result of their work on construction, renovation or maintenance projects must comply with the requirements of this program.

Employee Rights
According to PEOSH (OSHA) regulations, an employee may request an inspection or evaluation of conditions that they believe may constitute a health or safety hazard. Employees are encouraged to discuss their safety concerns with their supervisor prior to making such a request. Employees may also call Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS) if they have any questions regarding health and safety matters related to their employment at Rutgers University.

If a person requests a confidential inspection by REHS, their name will not appear on any record published, released, or made available to the public, their immediate supervisor or department head.

If you are asked to perform a task, which you feel is unsafe, notify your supervisor of the safety problem. If the unsafe condition is not corrected and you are ordered to perform the task, you may ask to be temporarily assigned to a different, non-hazardous job. If your supervisor will not temporarily reassign you, you may then refuse to perform the work and should immediately call REHS at 848-445-2550.

The rights of an employee in reporting complaints of matters affecting occupational health and safety must be exercised without retaliation on the part of any other person.

Hazard Prevention and Control
Rutgers University strives to provide a safe and healthful working environment for all persons associated with the University community. Attainment of this goal requires cooperation and commitment on the part of us all. All members of the University community must be thoroughly familiar with their safety responsibilities, strive to follow safety practices at all times, act proactively to prevent accidents and injuries, communicate hazards to supervisors, and be prepared for emergencies that may occur in the workplace.

OSHA (PEOSH) requires that employees be provided a place of employment free from recognized safety and health hazards. REHS helps departments meet this requirement by performing various periodic inspections. It is very important, however, that each department also require supervisors to perform or coordinate regular inspections of all departmental worksites to identify and correct worksite hazards.

The inspection should include the following at a minimum:

  • Are there chemical or physical hazards (e.g., dust, radiation, welding rays, heat or excessive noise) that could cause injury?
  • Are workers exposed to any source of hazardous energy (e.g., electricity, heat or cold, chemicals, radiation, gases, pressurized systems) that could injury?
  • Are workers exposed to slip, trip or fall hazards?
  • Can moving or flying objects, falling materials, or equipment strike workers?
  • Are materials that are stored in tiers stacked, racked, blocked or otherwise secured to prevent sliding, falling or collapse?
  • Are there stationary or moving objects, sharp edges or protruding parts that could injure a worker?
  • Are employees wearing personal protective equipment that is appropriate for the job? Have they been trained to use this equipment properly?
  • Are machinery, holes, or hazardous operations properly guarded?
  • Are all machines and equipment, including powered hand tools, ladders and extension cords, inspected on a regular basis? Have employees been trained to safely use these machines and equipment?
  • Can employees overexert themselves while lifting, pulling or pushing?
  • Are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) readily available for all chemicals used or stored in the worksite? Do all employees know where to find and how to read an MSDS?
  • Is lighting adequate in all locations?
  • Are chemicals, including flammable and combustible liquids, stored properly?
  • Are work areas clean, orderly and sanitary, and is debris and scrap removed on a daily basis?

Inspection checklists for specific operations-such as woodworking shops or welding areas-can be obtained by contacting REHS at 848-445-2550.

Employees may be protected from worksite hazards by eliminating the hazard, isolating the hazard, or by controlling how the work is performed, staged, and executed. Approved shields and guards, interlocks, local exhaust ventilation for airborne hazards, or other engineering controls can be used to reduce workplace hazards. REHS is available to provide technical support when determining how best to control worksite hazards.

When workplace hazards cannot be eliminated or controlled, a written safety plan must be developed by the supervisor and/or safety coordinator and submitted to REHS for review. The supervisor must assure that all employees, including new employees, read and follow the safety plan. A written training log should be maintained for each employee.

Some work activities require specialized training, a written permit, or development of a worksite safety plan prior to the work being performed. Work in this category includes:

  • "Hot Work" (e.g., welding, cutting, burning, heating, grinding, or similar heat producing activities which are capable of providing a source of ignition for a fire) outside of an approved hot work area.
  • Work performed in a confined space that involves the use of paints, solvents, or other chemicals, welding, grinding, or similar hot work, or other work that introduces a hazard into a confined space.
  • Entry into a permit required confined space.
  • Scaffold erection and use.
  • Work performed where a fall prevention plan needs to be developed prior to the work.
  • Work conducted in trenches or excavations.
  • Abrasive blasting outside of an abrasive blasting enclosure.
  • Work performed using toxic gases that are contained in compressed gas cylinders.

Employees that are exposed to certain types of hazards may need to use respiratory protection and/or require medical monitoring. These requirements are explained in various programs where applicable. When employees need to use a respirator, or if they are exposed to hazards that require medical surveillance, the supervisor is responsible for enrolling the employee in the University's Respiratory Protection Program. Information on the enrollment criteria for this program may be obtained by contacting the Respiratory Protection Program Administrator of REHS at 848-445-2550.

Safety and Health Training
Supervisors and employees should be trained to understand the essential role that they play in job site safety. The type and level of training a supervisor or employee should receive will vary by work activity and job location. Training programs for supervisors or employee should may include, but are not limited to, the following:

REHS offers both employee and supervisory training programs, and also maintains training resources. Information on training and training resources may be obtained by contacting REHS at 848-445-2550.

 

Contacts

Campus Health Safety Specialist, or call (732) 445 - 2550
 

For more information, contact webmaster Last Updated: 11/24/03
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