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Construction Job Site Safety Audit – 9 Common Construction Site Safety Issues

construction safety

The construction job site safety audit can be a critical tool for keeping your projects on time and under budget. On going attention to safety and loss control is the ounce of prevention that’s worth a pound of cure.

A regular process, that identifies and then corrects or removes work site hazards, efficiently minimizes accidents and injuries.

Here are nine relatively common safety issues that were revealed by a regular construction job site safety audit:

  1. Trenching
  • Excessive trench depth increases collapse hazard
  • Work must only proceed where collapse protection is in place
  • Collapses protection can be provided with proper sloping.
  1. Containers – Gas cans must be clearly labeled as to contents and hazards.
  2. Rigging Slings – Rigging must be taken out of service when heavily damaged or when wear detectors are visible.
  3. Stairs – Stairs need to be properly constructed with consistent rise and run, secured treads, and stair rails in place.
  4. Office Trailers – Unused access and entrance doors must be physically blocked from use to avoid falls.
  5. Loading Platforms – Railings, to prevent falls, must have mid and top rails in place. Under certain conditions chains can be used.
  6. Flammable Liquid Storage – A Flammable Storage Cabinet must be installed and used in any building or trailer where over 25 gallons of flammable liquids are stored.
  7. Fire Extinguishers – Storage trailers containing flammable or combustible materials must have fire extinguishers within 50 foot proximity.
  8. Ladders – Damaged ladders or ladder sections must be tagged “Do Not Use” until removed from the job site and destroyed.

The loss control audit by a safety officer or safety consultant provides important focus on the prevention of accidents and injuries in busy work environments.

In this example, nine safety issues were found. The hazards were identified before there were any injuries or accidents. Corrective action was immediate for some of the issues, while others required scheduling. Either way business interruption was kept to a minimum.

To take a look at the details of this loss control audit, including photos, please click on construction job site safety audit.

Stud Spacing and Wall Framing

wall framingRemodeling and building homes over the years I have seen all sorts of stud spacing measurements in bearing and non-bearing walls.

How far should we space a framing stud in a bearing wall?

Most plans will give you this information. If you have a structural shear wall the plans will tell you what size of lumber to use at the plywood breaks. The normal spacing on a bearing wall will be 16 inches on center unless otherwise noted on the building plans. This is the most common spacing for studs in a wall.

How far can we space framing studs in a nonbearing wall?

I have seen studs spaced as far as 24 inches on center in a nonbearing wall. Over the years looking at the building code books I have found this to be acceptable for most framing applications. Do not confuse a nonbearing walls with a structural shear walls because there is no weight sitting on the shear wall.

Interior structural shear walls will require 16 inch on center spacing or less depending on the structural engineer and your local building department.

What are the disadvantages of spacing the studs 24 inches on center?

Using half-inch drywall with 24 inch on center stud spacing can give the wall a week or spongy feel. I have been in houses that have 24 inch on center’s stud spacing and can actually push the wall and see it move. Using 5/8 drywall will solve this problem in your walls.

What are the advantages of spacing the studs 24 inches on center?

The only advantage in spacing the studs farther apart is the fact you will be able to save a few dollars on the overall cost of building or remodeling your house. I personally do not recommend this process because the savings is miniscule compared to the overall cost of building the entire house.

If you look on a measuring tape between 19 and 20 inches you will usually find a little diamond. This little diamond is another measurement for laying out eight-foot walls or floors. So instead of using 16 inch on center layout you can use 19 1/4 for stud spacing. This will save you an additional stud in your wall or floor joist every 8 feet.

I have been writing more articles on home construction problems trying to help contractors and homeowners build safer stronger houses.