OSHA Inspectors See Safety Through the Eyes of a Builder
A special all-day training class recently hosted by the North Coast Building Industry Association and Ryan Homes provided OSHA inspectors in Ohio with a better idea of how home builders conduct their business.
The event is one of a series of seminars that home builders associations are conducting with the help of NAHB to keep the lines of communication open between home builders and the federal agency, which recently announced it is placing special emphasis on fall protection measures in residential construction.
The seminar gave inspectors a crash course in home building, including a field trip to a Ryan Homes job site where the inspectors saw five homes in various stages of construction.
The event took a lot of coordination and preparation, but at the end of the day, everyone went away happy — and with a lot more information about how home builders really work, said North Coast BIA Executive Officer Rocco Fana.
“We have a partnership with OSHA in our region and this looked like it would be a great opportunity to enhance that partnership,” Fana said.
Working with other Ohio HBAs to promote the seminar, Fana ended up with 18 OSHA compliance officers for eight hours of training — four in the classroom and four at the job site.
The inspectors heard an earful about the complexities of the home building process, including “the full engagement of what goes into a house being built,” Fana said, from the purchase and acquisition of the land and the development and regulatory permitting process to the steps involved in zoning, obtaining a building permit and completing the paperwork through each stage of the process. It became clearer to OSHA how confusing regulations are likely to get lost in the shuffle, Fana said, especially when the same person isn’t in charge of each process.
At the job site, the OSHA officers “were able to see a freshly dug foundation, then after the concrete was poured, then the rough-in framing, then a house that was almost complete, and then a completed home — and they were able to apply what they had heard about in the classroom to an actual site,” Fana said.
The training was also a good opportunity for Ryan Homes, which flew in staffers from its Virginia headquarters to meet with the OSHA officials. The home builders discussed recent research and development efforts and testing on safety equipment with the federal representatives. “They were able to ask particularly in-depth questions that you can’t always ask on site,” Fana said.
As OSHA increases its emphasis on fall protection, NAHB is increasing its efforts to educate the agency about the differences between residential and commercial construction. NAHB’s participation in OSHA commissions and regular meeting with headquarters staff are two examples.
NAHB expects to have a new video and training program on fall protection available in time for the International Builders’ Show.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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