Understanding OSHA In New York State
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that has offices all over New York State. While every contractor recognizes OSHA and what OSHA does, the role of OSHA in making sure that worksites are safe may be a little cloudy.
We always recommend that every one of our contractor customers becomes familiar with what OSHA is and how OSHA operates in the state of New York. The idea is not to try to avoid or mask problems from OSHA, but to use OSHA as a resource to run a more successful business.
Why Would I Need OSHA?
When you are researching subcontractors, you can go through OSHA to see if any of your potential candidates have a history of OSHA violations. You can also send your workers to OSHA-sponsored safety classes to help them become more responsible and safe on the job. By becoming familiar with OSHA regulations, you can run a safer business and avoid OSHA violations when federal inspectors come to your jobsite.
Is OSHA In Charge Of All Construction Projects In New York State?
It is important to know that OSHA is not the only safety organization operating on construction sites throughout New York State. For its part, OSHA only operates on:
- Federally-funded projects
- Private sector jobs funded by private investors
- Any job taking place on a U.S. Postal Service facility
- Any job taking place in a shipbuilding facility
- Military projects
- Workplaces that are found on sovereign Native American territory
In New York State, the New York Public Employees State Plan Office takes care of:
- Projects funded by the state, county, or local money
- School district projects
- Both paid and volunteer fire department projects
The State Plan Office operates through an organization called the New York Public Employee Safety And Heath Bureau (PESH). The PESH is located in Albany, New York, and it is the organization that does the inspections and carries out the rules set forth by the State Plan Office.
Become Familiar With Both
It is important to note that OSHA provides safety information that is applicable in any type of project. Just because OSHA may not be inspecting your particular project does not mean that you should avoid OSHA’s rules. OSHA invests millions of dollars every year in determining new ways to keep employees safe, and new methods to keep pedestrians safe who walk near construction projects.
Whether your construction project is being inspected by OSHA, the PESH, or the local New York City Building Department, you need to be familiar with the regulations of all of these organizations. Safety needs to be a primary concern for your organization if you want to control risk and keep down costs.
As a risk assessment company, we always find significant value in working with all of the safety organizations throughout the state. When a construction company focuses on keeping all of the safety groups happy, then that company is keeping costs down and avoiding fines.
Safety is a big part of lowering risk, which is why we believe so strongly in having all of our customers maintain constant contact with every safety inspection organization. Working with OSHA can keep your company safe and profitable, but working with every safety organization will significantly reduce several areas of risk for your company.