OSHA and the Home Improvement Contractor
A colleague, Jerry Solomon, offers the following advice:
All you have to do is look around you, in the city and the suburbs, to see that many home contractors have little concern for following OSHA rules to protect their employees. You see Mickey Mouse scaffolds, employees working at heights without fall protection, workers riding in the backs of pickups or on backhoes, aluminum ladders near electrical lines, excavations with no cave-in protection. You can’t see it, but it is probable also that many workers on home-building or renovation projects are wrongly treated as if they are independent contractors. The prudent contractor will begin to get his act together.
Contrary to some beliefs and wishes, residential construction is covered by OSHA. Every contractor with an employee is covered. If you are incorporated, you have an employee, even if it is just yourself.
Among the highest hazard industries that OSHA tracks are residential building, and landscaping. So OSHA has targeted residential construction for special attention. It is their belief that workers in residential construction deserve a safe workplace. Every OSHA office in Massachusetts has a Local Emphasis Program for Residential Construction.
Here is the scary part. They are trying to enlist local building inspectors to be on the lookout for builders who don’t follow OSHA’s rules. OSHA is training them. Don’t be surprised if a local inspector refuses to inspect your framing or whatever if he has to climb more than 4 stairs without a handrail.
Learn the rules. An OSHA citation and fine could eat up all of your profits.
Law office of Jerrold Solomon