By Brad Nichols
A rigorous inspection of a construction site verifies that workers are performing their job safely, that applicable laws and regulations are being followed, and that the finished building will meet the owner’s expectations. With swarms of workers, schedule pressure and a constantly changing job site, inspecting a construction site can be challenging but the following steps will result in an efficient, effective inspection.
First, you should verify that you have the name and cell phone number of your on-site contact. Then, set the standard with your use of personnel protective equipment; arrive at the jobsite with a hard hat, safety shoes, long sleeve shirt and safety glasses at a minimum.
Inspect for Worker Safety
Construction consistently ranks near the top of the lists of most hazardous occupations. Your inspection of the job site should include a walk-through of the entire job site including remote staging or storage areas. In particular, check for the following high risk topics:
- Fall Protection – Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites. When workers are six feet or more above the ground, properly fitting fall protection must be used. Verify that workers are using fall protection when required and that the fall protection is being used correctly. Check to see that harnesses are worn snugly and inspect both in-service and tool room storage fall protection equipment for cuts, wear, abrasion and repairs that reduce the integrity of those items.
- Ladders – Ladders must be placed on solid footing, a challenging criteria for many worksites. Ensure that ladders are in good repair with no missing rungs or field repairs. Look overhead for any electrical wires near the ladder. Observe workers on ladders for incidences of over-reaching to the side or standing on the top steps.
- Trenches – Trench collapses are often fatal. Verify that approved shoring methods are being used before any worker enters a trench.
Inspect for Compliance
Local building inspectors, fire marshals and OSHA inspectors may arrive at your jobsite at any time. Make sure your jobsite is in compliance by following all applicable regulations. In particular, check for:
- Information – Ensure that the OSHA “It’s the Law” poster (English and Spanish), the phone number of local emergency services, and the phone number of the job site safety supervisor are conspicuously posted.
- Regulations – Review the OSHA regulations particularly applicable to the jobsite; check Standard 1926 for general construction.
- Building permit – Verify that the job site is in compliance with all the conditions of the building permit(s).
Record your inspection with photographs, notes and sketches of your observations. Not only do these records provide objective evidence of worksite conditions, but the simple act of recording such details heightens your focus and improves the quality of your construction site inspection.
Brad Nichols is the owner of ICPS Australia, a company with combined experience in building inspections and investigations and engineering consulting. ICPS provide a wide range of services from disaster management, project management and engineering solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.