Induced Hazards

It is not known who coined the term “induced hazards”, but OSHA uses the term and defines it as hazards that “arise and are induced from a multitude of incorrect decisions and actions that occur during the construction process.”  Part of the reason for the development of these hazards, is the production mentality of many construction crews focused upon completing the work and not necessarily considering the impact of decisions. Decisions that make sense for production and budget may not always make sense from a safety stand point. In the construction industry, a project team is typically composed of several individuals, each with a different discipline and perspective. This project team may include a project manager, jobsite superintendent and safety manager among other positions. The impact of this teamwork is substantial, as it ensures that there is an appropriate balance to completing the work.

Communication is also critical on a construction project, as there may be several subcontractors working under a general contractor at the same time on a project and there can’t be an assumption that another subcontractor working on a project is aware of the potential hazards that are being created. I’ve also seen cases where the field team performing the work assume that management took care of the risky stuff, while the office management team may not be aware of the risky stuff because it is removed and onsite.

There is no clear designation of ultimate responsibility in a lot of these cases, so it’s important that each individual in the construction process is accountable and communicates any potential hazard to other parties that may be impacted. Thorough communication regarding safety and hazards can help to prevent many of these incidents. Additionally, it’s important that there is a clear designation of responsibilities and impacted parties understand their roles as it relates to safety.


About the Author:
Joe Turner, P.E. serves as National Trench Safety’s Director of Engineering, Research and Product Development.  Mr. Turner is one of the most recognized figures in the trench safety industry, having provided trench safety plans for the last 20 years.  Among his many accomplishments, is the book Excavation Systems, Design, Planning and Safety, which was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008 and is still used today as a reference for many students and professionals regarding proper engineering techniques.

DISCLAIMER: the information contained in this article is provided for general and illustrative purposes only and is not to be considered Site Specific and or designated engineering for any project or work zone, nor is it to be used or consider to be tabulated data, technical data, advice and or counsel to be used on any jobsite.  Each project is different and is the responsibility of the employer’s designated Competent Person to make decisions upon what systems and methods may be used in compliance with the federal and local regulations, manufactures tabulated data, engineered drawings and other plans.