Construction Site Safety Plans

Although required by some states for general construction, a written comprehensive Safety and Health Plan is not required by the Occupational Health and

Bob Eckhardt

Although required by some states for general construction, a written comprehensive Safety and Health Plan is not required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for construction projects involving installation or building of concrete structures. Nevertheless, significant advantages of a well written plan include (1) administrative organization in complying with project requirements, which typically impresses OSHA inspectors, and (2) assurance of adequate administrative preparation for the project. When these elements are contained in a single document, an inspector can conveniently reference the Site Safety Plan to verify the presence and implementation of OSHA requirements Û an immensely helpful measure in preventing citations.

Few construction companies initiate projects without written safety plans. Correctly performed, a safety plan would be incorporated during the preparatory phase of a construction project, identifying all steps of the job and necessary measures to mitigate hazards Û like a comprehensive Job Safety Analysis.

Safety plans vary in content, since no single standardized document for the development of job-site safety plans is available. Although plans vary among employers, the following elements are recommended:

First aid and medical care availability

OSHA requires that the employer provide first aid and medical care for potentially injured workers. In the interest of good incident management, a first-aid kit should be accessible and at least two on-site persons certified in First Aid and CPR. If the site is in a 911-call system, this information should be posted. If the site is outside a 911 system, numbers for the local fire department, ambulance service, and police should be provided.

To effectively manage incidents and provide better care for routine, nontraumatic injury, the name and address of an industrial clinic is preferable to an emergency room listing. Trauma is the specialty of emergency rooms, while a walk-in industrial clinic is set up to handle routine industrial injuries, such as cuts, sore backs, muscles strains, drug testing, and bruises. Additionally, such clinics will tend to work with the employer to minimize an incident’s recordability, if incident factors related to mandatory OSHA reports can be minimized.


Local emergency phone numbers should be displayed on a poster, usually in the construction trailer. Most importantly, the OSHA poster needs to be placed where all personnel can see it Û typically, a bulletin board or time-clock poster board that may also include Family Leave, Wage and Hour, Child Labor, Anti-discrimination, state OSHA notices, and company announcements. The OSHA poster is available online at

Hazard identification, mitigation, and training

OSHA requires that employees and their supervisors be trained in specific hazards and control measures associated with their assigned tasks. Accordingly, Job Safety Analyses should be completed, providing the following three components:

  1. Identification of procedural steps of a job task
  2. Identification of the hazards of each step
  3. Identification of steps to reduce the hazard

Such information is provided using a form similar to that shown on page 44.

Once JSAs have been developed, the supervisor can review the job steps of daily activities, identify the hazards of each step, and discuss preventive measures. These JSAs are typically held in a binder with employees’ attendance-sheet signatures attached to the document. The attendance sheet verifies that the training was completed. While traditionalists contend that training is not completed until an employee is tested and demonstrates his or her comprehension, most construction sites accept daily review and signature sheets as adequate.

For ease of administration, standardized JSAs can be developed for similar tasks and modified on-site when local conditions dictate specific measures. Individual JSAs, for example, could be developed for jobs such as concrete forming, mesh placement, rebar placement, laying block, excavation and trench preparation for pipe installation, panel erection, and beam placement.

Company safety policies, procedures and hazard-control references

The multitude of safety policies and programs required by various government regulations and industry standards can be included in the safety plan; more frequently, however, they are simply referenced as appropriate. These policies and programs are necessary (1) to verify that the hazards associated with the work at hand have been mitigated by company safety procedures and policies, and (2) to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements for a written program.

Training documentation

Recommended are documentation of Competent Person(s) certification or other training verification, plus worker equipment-operation certifications. Competent Persons are designated by the company and should be named in the plan.

Training is required for mobile equipment, cranes and hoists, and hydraulic jacking equipment. Additional documentation would record all standard OSHA training required for a jobsite, e.g., HazCom and PPE.

Most companies do not have the administrative staff to create detailed, project-specific site safety plans without the aid of a standardized form. Typically, a template is developed that includes redundant company policy and procedural information with a fill-in-the-blank format for remaining site-specific variables. Small jobs with only a few individuals may entail reduced administrative plan prep time, as a one-page form need only be inserted in the front of a standardized site-safety plan completed by the supervisor. Such documentation usually includes project name, date, supervisor name (also the Competent Person), and a pocket card that functions as a JSA requiring identification of each job-task step, anticipated hazard(s), and preventive measure(s). Intended for completion before every task, the card is typically filled out prior to every shift, reviewed with other workers, and signed by the employees present.

Regardless of size, any construction job should include the preparation of some form of site safety plan. While this industry best practice is not yet a regulation, it exemplifies an honest effort to exceed OSHA requirements and to minimize incidents on the job.

Large construction project site safety plan outline

Tab Title Section Contents
Title Page
Plan Objective and Project Description Definitions
Administration Organization
Training requirements and documentation
Safety Meeting Schedule
Competent Persons Identified
Audits/Inspection schedules
Accident Management
Available Safety Assistance
Interpretative Resolution Contact
Dispute Resolution
Forms (safety meeting, inspections, emergency contact poster, OSHA poster)
Project Safety Guidelines Medical/First Aid Availability
Fire Protection
Hot Work and Flame Permit
Confined Space Entry
Personal Protective Equipment
Appropriate Attire
Signs, Signals and Barricades
Elevated Work Areas
Crane and Motorized Equipment Operation
Crane and Motorized Equipment Inspections
Crane Suspended Personnel Baskets
Drug and alcohol testing requirements, if any
Tool and Equipment Inspection
Ground Fault Protection
Physical Health Hazards
Hazardous Materials Management
Spill Prevention
Special Project Precautions
Site Restrictions
Responsibility Project Manager
Safety Coordinator
Emergency (in red or bold letters) Phone Numbers
Emergency Procedures
JSA Job Safety Analysis

Small construction project site safety plan outline

Tab Title Section Contents
Title Page
Plan Identify where company policies and procedures can be located
Identify the company safety contact
Identify the site safety contact (usually the supervisor)
Administration Safety meeting schedule
Competent persons identified
Audits and inspections schedules
Forms (safety meeting, inspections, emergency contact poster, OSHA poster)
Project Safety Guidelines Medical/first aid availability
Project job safety analyses
Special project precautions
Site restrictions
Emergency (in red or bold letters) Phone numbers
Incident and emergency management