As OSHA is concerned for the safety of workers on job sites this article will give you the basics for complying with OSHA rules on most job sites especially commercial and industrial construction sites. The requirements are different for compliance from management to the average worker and we will try to cover the basics for both management and worker. Almost every commercial or industrial job site will have a general contractor that manages a safety program.
OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC
As a part of their contract with the owner, they agree to set forth a safety program that complies with basic OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) safety rules and regulations. If it is a military site then the general contractor has agreed to abide by the military’s equivalent of OSHA regulations which is EM-385. The two safety guidelines are nearly the same with minor variations. Many workers on the job site are usually workers of a sub-contractor who is directly contracted to the general contractor. The contracts between the general contractor and the sub-contractors also typically have provisions that the sub-contractor will abide by all safety regulations on the site as mandated by OSHA or EM-385.
OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC - EM-385 and OSHA
As a part of this process, the general contractor will have an onsite safety manager who encourages and enforces the safety program and policies of the general contracting company and OSHA or EM-385. The safety manager may or may not have subordinates working for them to administer the safety program for their particular site. This safety manager is trained and holds a certificate certifying he or she has been trained in OSHA or EM-385 rules and regulations.
As a requirement for each worker entering the project the general contractor will require each and every worker to attend a safety seminar hosted by the safety manager for the site. This typically involves a safety video and lecture by the safety manager that covers the basic rules of the site and will also cover any regulations that the general contractor enforces that exceed OSHA or EM-385. Yes, the general contractor can exceed the requirements of OSHA or EM-385 and this will usually be a part of the contract.
OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC | Basics
The basics of OSHA and EM-385 include but are not limited to:
- Hazardous Materials - applicable to HVAC technicians as hazardous materials include compressed gases and other chemicals and gases HVAC technicians usually use to complete their work.
- Fire Safety - Applies to Soldering and Brazing for HVAC technicians
- Machinery and Machine Guarding Standards - can be applied to HVAC
- Respiratory Protection - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Confined Space Entry - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Excavation, Trenching, and Soil Mechanics - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Electrical Standards - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Fall Arrest Systems - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Lockout/Tag-out - can be applied to HVAC technicians
- Bloodborne Pathogens - can be applied to any worker on any job site
- Recordkeeping Rule Seminar - can be applied to HVAC management
There are many other sections and parts of OSHA and EM-385 rules and regulations. These sections cover other areas of safety and specific industries and/or occupations. Things such as the healthcare industry, Nursing homes, public warehousing and storage, and the maritime industry.
Each category in safety has its own training course. Someone who wants to learn these basic rules and regulations can familiarize themselves with the basics. They can become certified in different areas of safety provided they meet the basic prerequisites and requirements for becoming certified.
The Cost of Non-Compliance or Safety Rule Breaking - OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC
There are some reading this article who have observed others getting caught violating basics rules. The safety violator was either reprimanded, made to take a safety refresher class, or booted from the job site. I’ve seen all three variations happen and the personnel caught violating the safety rules and regulations were from apprentices. Some even way up in upper management. On one job site where the general contractor very stringently enforcing the safety rules and regulations I seen a whole HVAC company booted from the job site because of excessive violations. Makes you wonder about the contractual implications when that happens.
OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC | Conclusion
It is a good policy to follow all basic safety rules and regulations when working on any job site. It protects the health of the workers and these workers are the backbone of the company. There are good positive ways to encourage all the workers to comply with basic safety rules. There are also bad ways to enforce a safety program. It is entirely up to management how they want to handle their safety program. I can tell you from experience the best companies to work for positively enforced a good safety program. It showed in the workers and the quality of their work.
Have a Safe Day!
OSHA Safety Rules and HVAC
Technical Resource: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology