OSHA's Concrete and Masonry Standard
Concrete and Masonry standards of OSHA’s Subpart Q details a number of requirements contractors and other construction employers must follow to protect workers on site. A number of workplace accidents and injuries can be avoided if masonry walls are braced properly, reinforcing steel is guarded and de-energized equipment does not operate unexpectedly. Subpart Q of the regulations is specifically designed to protect construction employees from the dangers that are common in masonry and concrete work. This includes work sites where demolitions, repairs and alterations take place.
Changes to new safety standardsHere are the important changes made in the masonry and concrete standards:
- The changes allow workers to use new models of testing out concrete rather than just one method. This allows them to test the integrity of the material from different perspectives which in turn increases their safety.
- Certain requirements were set in place for 2 types of concrete that are used during construction – cast-in-place and precast.
- General requirements
- Masonry construction
- Lift slab construction
- Precast concrete
- Tools and equipment
- Cast-in-place concrete
General requirements of construction and masonry standardsConstruction loads cannot be placed on structures made of concrete unless the structure is strong enough to support it. This confirmation should be taken from a person who is qualified to determine the strength of the structure and the decision should lie with the worker. Protruding reinforcing steel that is used on the construction site should be guarded at all times to prevent workers from getting impales on them. Unless workers are part of post-tension work, they should not be allowed to remain behind the jack. To ensure this, signs and barriers should be placed around the worksite during tensioning. Concrete buckets are not meant to carry workers. Workers should not work under concrete buckets while they are being lifted or lowered. These should be routed appropriately to reduce chances of accidents in case the bucket falls. All workers who handle a pneumatic hose to apply water, sand and cement mixtures should wear safety head and face gear for their own safety.
Common violations of Subpart QAs mentioned before, Subpart Q of the concrete and masonry safety standard is designed to protect workers from common hazards on site. Some of the most common violations include the failure to:
- Establish limited access zones (LAZ) to prevent workers from accessing areas where a wall is being constructed.
- Brace sections of a masonry wall that is unsupported and is at least over 8 feet in height.
- Arrange for plans at the job site that can highlight formwork placement and jack placement.
- Here is what an employer can learn from these violations:
- Some of the common hazards that can occur during concrete placement include impalement, silica exposure and being struck by falling or flying material.
- A limited access zone should be established when a masonry wall is being erected.
- Loads cannot be placed on any concrete structures unless a qualified worker determines that it is strong enough to support it without collapsing.