Protecting the Public in Proximity to Construction Sites

We typically think about the safety of subcontractor’s personnel and vendors on construction sites. After all, Federal and/or state OSHA authority on commercial construction begins where an employer-employee relationship exists. (OSHA regulation “CPL 2-0.124 –Multi-Employer Citation Policy” dictates generally jobsite safety between contractors.) 

But what about safety of the public on adjacent streets or sidewalks, or across the fence in a school yard, or even across an intersection? What about invited on-site visitors such as the Owner, Engineers or Architects? OSHA is almost silent.

OSHA Regulations

Some of the OSHA regulations for protecting workers do secondarily protect the public. For example, OSHA requires a placarding:

“a sign or notice for display in a public place such as for; of parked equipment, barricading of open trenches or the swing-radius of a crane, and using flaggers at traffic work zones. However, these are few and indirect.”

ANSI/ASSE Regulations

Another consensus standard regulating public protection is “ANSI/ASSE A10.34-2001 (R2005), Protection of the Public on or Adjacent to Construction.” 

ANSI is an acronym for “American National Standards Institute” and ASSE is the acronym for “American Society of Safety Engineers.” When referencing public safety, the standards are not comprehensive. Their definition?…

“All persons and property not affiliated with the construction project. This includes invitees to the construction project who are not employed by the contractors.”

Believe it or not, trespassers are excluded from both definitions of the public. (A simple solution? Signs on the work site should say “No Trespassers” to defend the company and owner’s property rights.)

The above standards are a starting place to help companies develop site-specific public hazard control plans and emergency action plans. But going the extra mile is important for everyone involved. A holistic and definitive plan is needed for public safety, especially at the work sites where the public is ever present (city streets) or in high-risk areas (near schools). When thinking about the safety on your project, make sure your emergency restoration vendor has a solid plan. Learn more about our safety program