Easy to Read OSHA Regulations

The OSHA Construction Regulations are extensive, intricate, and can be hard to understand. Use the links below for easy to read and understand resources.

Click here to view more information on aerial lifts.

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Pneumatic power tools shall be secured to the hose in a positive manner to prevent accidental disconnection. 1926.302(b)(1)

Safety clips or retainers shall be securely installed and maintained on pneumatic impact tools to prevent attachments from being accidentally expelled. 1926.302(b)(2)

The manufacturer's safe operating pressure for all fittings shall not be exceeded. 1926.302(b)(5)

All hoses exceeding 1/2-inch (1.3 centimeters) inside diameter shall have a safety device at the source of supply or branch line to reduce pressure in case of hose failure. 1926.302(b)(7)

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Compressed air used for cleaning purposes shall be reduced to less than 30 PSI and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment. 1926.302(b)(4)

This requirement does not apply to concrete form, mill scale, and similar cleaning operations. 1926.302(b)(4)

Click here to view more information on compressed gas cylinders.

Click here to view more information on concrete and masonry construction.

Click here to view more information on confined spaces.

Click here to view more information on cranes and derricks.

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Whenever materials are dropped more than 20’to any exterior point of a building, an enclosed chute shall be used. 1926.252(a)

When debris is dropped through holes in the floor without the use of chutes, the area where the material is dropped shall be enclosed with barricades not less than 42” high and not less than 6’ back from the projected edges of the opening above. Warning signs of the hazard of falling material shall be posted at each level. 1926.252(b)

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Employers must not allow employees to work near live parts of electrical circuits, unless the employees are protected by one of the following means:

De-energizing and grounding the parts;

Guarding the part by insulation; and

Any other effective means. 1926.416(a)(1)

The use of NFPA 7OE, "Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements in the Workplace," is one method considered to meet the OSHA requirements for the protection of personnel from electrical hazards.

In work areas where the exact location of underground electrical power lines is unknown employees using jack hammers, bars, or other hand tools that may contact the lines must be protected by insulating gloves, aprons, or other protective clothing that will provide equivalent electrical protection. 1926.416(a)(2) and .95(a) Barriers or other means of guarding must be used to ensure that workspace for electrical equipment will not be used as a passageway during periods when energized parts of equipment are exposed. 1926.416(b)(1)

Equipment or circuits that are de-energized must be rendered inoperative and must have tags attached at all points where the equipment or circuits could be energized. 1926.417{b)

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An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review.

An emergency action plan must include at a minimum:

- Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency.

- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments.

- Procedures for critical plant operations before evacuation.

- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation.

- Procedures for rescue or medical duties.

- The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of   their duties under the plan.

- The employer shall review the plan with each employee covered by the plan at the following times: Initially when the plan is developed; whenever the employee's responsibilities or designated actions under the plan change; and whenever the plan is changed.

Click here for more information on excavating and trenching.

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Exits shall be marked by a readily visible sign. 1926.34(b)

Access to exits shall be marked by readily visible signs in all cases where the exit or way to reach it is not immediately visible to the occupants. 1926.34(b)

Exits must be free of all obstructions so they can be used immediately in case of fire or emergency. 1926.34(c)

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Only authorized and qualified persons shall be permitted to handle and use explosives. 1926.900(a)

Explosives and related materials shall be stored in approved facilities required under the applicable provisions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms regulations contained in 27 CFR Part 55, Commerce in Explosives.   1926.904(a)

Smoking and open flames shall not be permitted within 50’ of explosives and detonator storage magazines. 1926.904(c)

Procedures that permit safe and efficient loading shall be established before loading is started. 1926.905(a)

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Eye and face protection shall be provided and used when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury. 1926.102(a)(1)

Eye and face protective equipment shall meet the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-1968, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection. 1926.102(a)(2)

Employees involved in welding operations shall be furnished with filter lenses or plates for protection against radiant energy. Table E-2 shall be used as a guide. 1926.102(b)(1)


Click here for more information on fall protection.

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Exposure to toxic gases, vapors, fumes, dusts, and mists at a concentration above those specified in the "Threshold Limit Values of Airborne Contaminants for 1970" of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), shall be avoided. 1926.55(a)

Administrative or engineering controls must be implemented whenever feasible to comply with Threshold Limit Values. 1926.55(b)

When engineering and administrative controls are not feasible to achieve full compliance, protective equipment or other protective measures shall be used to keep the exposure of employees to air contaminants within the limits prescribed.

Any equipment and technical measures used for this purpose must first be approved for each particular use by a competent industrial hygienist or other technically qualified person. Whenever respirators are used, their use shall comply with 1926.103. 1910.134 made applicable to construction by 1926.55(b)

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All abrasive wheel bench and stand grinders shall be provided with safety guards that cover the spindle ends, nut and flange projections, and are strong enough to withstand the effects of a bursting wheel. 1926.303(b)(1) and (c)(1)

An adjustable work rest of rigid construction shall be used on floor and bench-mounted grinders, with the work rest kept adjusted to a clearance not to exceed 1/8-inch between the work rest and the surface of the wheel. 1926.303(c)(2)

All abrasive wheels shall be closely inspected and ring-tested before mounting to ensure that they are free from cracks or other defects.


Portable abrasive wheel tools shall be provided with safety guards, except when the wheels are 2” or less, or the wheel is entirely inside the work. 1926.303(c)(3) and (4)

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Employers shall not issue or permit the use of unsafe hand tools, including tools that may be furnished by employees or employers. All hand tools must be properly maintained. 1926.300(a) and 1926.301(a)

Wrenches shall not be used when jaws are sprung to the point that slippage occurs.

Impact tools shall be kept free of mushroomed heads.

The wooden handles of tools shall be kept free of splinters or cracks and shall be kept tight in the tool. 1926.301(b) through (d)

Electric power operated tools shall either be approved double-insulated, or be properly grounded. 1926.302(a)(1)

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(made applicable to construction by 1926.59)

Employers shall develop, implement, and maintain at the workplace a written hazard communication program for their workplaces.

Employers must inform their employees of the availability of the program, including the required list(s) of hazardous chemicals, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) required.  1910.1200(e)(1) and (e)(4)

The employer shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked with the identity of the hazardous chemical(s) contained therein; and must show hazard warnings appropriate for employee protection. 1910.1200(f)(5)

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Head protective equipment (hardhats, helmets) shall be worn in areas where there is a possible danger of head injuries from impact, flying or falling objects, or electrical shock and burns. 1926.100(a)

Helmets for protection against impact and penetration of falling and flying objects shall meet the requirements of ANSI Z89.1-1969. 1926.100(b)

Helmets for protection against electrical shock and burns shall meet the requirements of ANSI 289.2-1971. 1926.100(c)

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When heating devices are used, fresh air shall be supplied in sufficient quantities to maintain the health and safety of workers. 1926.154(a)( 1)

Solid fuel salamanders are prohibited in buildings and on scaffolds. 1926.154(d)

Heaters used in the vicinity of combustible tarpaulins, canvas, or similar coverings shall be located at least 10 feet from the coverings. The coverings shall be securely fastened to prevent ignition or upsetting of the heater due to wind action on the covering or other material. 1926.154(b )(4)

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The employer shall comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation of all hoists and elevators. Where manufacturer's specifications are not available, the limitations assigned to the equipment shall be based on the determinations of a professional engineer competent in the field.

Operating rules shall be established and posted at the operator's station of the material hoist. Such rules shall include signal system and allowable line speed for various loads. Rules and notices shall be posted on the car frame or crosshead in a conspicuous location, including the statement "No Riders Allowed."

Personnel hoist towers outside the structure shall be enclosed for the full height on the side or sides used for entrance and exit to the structure. At the lowest landing, the enclosure on the sides not used for exit or entrance to the structure shall be enclosed to a height of at least 10 feet. Other sides of the tower adjacent to floors or scaffold platforms shall be enclosed to a height of 10 feet above the level of such floors or scaffolds.

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Form and scrap lumber with protruding nails and all other debris shall be kept clear from all work areas. 1926.25(a)

Combustible scrap and debris shall be removed at regular intervals. 1926.25(b)

Containers shall be provided for collection and separation of all refuse. Covers shall be provided on containers used for flammable or harmful substances. 1926.25(c)

Wastes shall be disposed of at frequent intervals. 1926.25(c)

Click here to view more information on illumination.

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Click here to view more information on ladders.

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Only qualified and trained employees shall be assigned to install, adjust, and operate laser equipment. 1926.54(a)

Proof of qualification of the laser equipment operator shall be available and in possession of the operator at all times. 1926.54(b)

Employees shall wear proper (anti-laser) eye protection when working in areas where there is a potential exposure to direct or reflected laser light greater than 0.005 watts (5milliwatts).1926.54(c)

Areas in which lasers are used shall be posted with standard laser warning placards. 1926.54(d)

Beam shutters or caps shall be utilized, or the laser turned off, when laser transmission is not actually required. When the laser is left unattended for a substantial period of time- such as during lunch hour, overnight, or at change of shifts-the laser shall be turned off. 1926.54(e)

Employees shall not be exposed to light intensities in excess of the following: direct staring -1 microwatt per square centimeter; incidental observing - 1 milliwatt per square centimeter; and diffused reflected light - 2-1/2 watts per square centimeter. 1926.540)(1) through (3)

Employees shall not be exposed to microwave power densities in excess of 10 milliwatts per square centimeter. 1926.54(1)

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Each employer who has a workplace or operation covered by this standard shall initially determine if any employee may be exposed to lead at or above the action level of 30 micrograms per cubic meter (30 µg/m3) of air calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average. 1926.62(d)(1)

The employer shall assure that no employee is exposed to lead at concentrations greater than 50 micrograms per cubic meter (50 µg/m3) of air averaged over an 8-hour period (the permissible exposure limit - PEL).  1926.62(c)(1)

Whenever there has been a change of equipment, process, control, personnel, or a new task has been initiated that may result in exposure above the PEL, the employer shall conduct additional monitoring. 1926.62(d)(7)

Training shall be provided in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard and additional training shall be provided for employees exposed at or above the action level. 1926.62(1)(1)(i)

Prior to the start of the job, each employer shall establish and implement a written compliance program. 1926.62(e)(2)

Where airborne concentrations of lead equal or exceed the action level at any time, an initial medical examination consisting of blood sampling and analysis shall be made available for each employee prior to initial assignment to the area. 1926.620)(1)

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Each system shall have containers, valves, connectors, manifold valve assemblies, and regulators of an approved type. 1926.153(a)(1)

Every container and vaporizer shall be provided with one or more approved safety relief valves or devices. 1926.153(d)(1)

Containers shall be placed upright on firm foundations or otherwise firmly secured. 1926.153(9) and 1926.153(h)(11)

Portable heaters shall be equipped with an approved automatic device to shut off the flow of gas in the event of flame failure.  1926.153(h)(8)

All cylinders shall be equipped with an excess flow valve to minimize the flow of gas in the event the fuel line becomes ruptured. 1926.153(i)(2)

Storage of liquefied petroleum gas within buildings is prohibited. 1926.153(i)

Storage locations shall have at least one approved portable fire extinguisher rated not less than 20-8:C. 1926.153(1)

Most construction jobs involve some lifting. Whether a particular lift will require assistance depends on several factors, including the weight of the object, how frequently the object is lifted, how close the object is to the ground, how high it must be lifted, and how far it must be carried.

Assistance can include a dolly, cart, or help from a co-worker. For lighter items, the employer should ensure that employees use good lifting techniques.

When holding, lifting or carrying items:

- Before lifting boxes and cases, check the weight so you can prepare.

- Stand close with a shoulder-width stance.

- Squat by bending your knees and hips.

- Pull the load close and grip it.

- Tighten your stomach and lift your head (this will help to keep your back straight).

- Turn with the feet, not the torso.

Click here for more information on material handling.

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The employer shall ensure the availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of occupational health.  1926.50(a)

When a medical facility is not reasonably accessible for the treatment of injured employees, a person qualified to render first aid shall be available at the worksite.  1926.20©

First aid supplies when required should be readily available.  1926.20(d) (1)

In areas where 911 is not available the telephone numbers of the physicians, hospitals, or ambulances shall be conspicuously posted. 1926.50(f)

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All vehicles in use shall be checked at the beginning of each shift to ensure that all parts, equipment, and accessories that affect safe operation are in proper operating condition and free from defects. All defects shall be corrected before the vehicle is placed in service. 1926.601(b)(14)

No employer shall use any motor vehicle, earthmoving, or compacting equipment having an obstructed view to the rear unless:

  • The vehicle has a reverse signal alarm distinguishable from the surrounding noise level, or
  • The vehicle is backed up only when an observer signals that it is safe to do so. 1926.601(b)(4)(i)-(ii) and 1926.602(a)(9)(i)-(ii)

Heavy machinery, equipment, or parts thereof that are suspended or held aloft shall be substantially blocked to prevent falling or shifting before employees are permitted to work under or between them. 1926.600(a)(3)( i)

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The employer is responsible for requiring the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment in all operations where there is an exposure to hazardous conditions or where the need is indicated for using such equipment to reduce the hazard to the employees. 1926.28(a)

The employer is responsible for providing all necessary personal protective equipment to the employee at no charge. Foot wear is not included unless it is specific to a job or process.

Employees working over or near water, where the danger of drowning exists, shall be provided with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets or buoyant work vests. 1926.106(a)

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Only trained employees shall be allowed to operate powder-actuated tools. 1926.302(e)(1)

All powder-actuated tools shall be tested daily before use and all defects discovered before or during use shall be corrected. 1926.302(e)(2) -(3)

Tools shall not be loaded until immediately before use. Loaded tools shall not be left unattended. 1926.302(e)(5)-(6)

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Existing conditions shall be determined before starting work, by an inspection or a test. Such conditions shall include, but not be limited to, energized lines and equipment, condition of poles, and the location of circuits and equipment including power and communications, cable television, and fire-alarm circuits. 1926.950(b)(1)

Electric equipment and lines shall be considered energized until determined otherwise by testing or until grounding. 1926.950(b)(2) and .954(a)

Operating voltage of equipment and lines shall be determined before working on or near energized parts. 1926.950(b)(3)

Rubber protective equipment shall be visually inspected before use. 1926.951(a)(1)

Protective equipment of material other than rubber shall provide equal or better electrical and mechanical protection. 1926.951(a)(iv)

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Belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, sprockets, spindles, drums, flywheels, chains, or other reciprocating, rotating, or moving parts of equipment shall be guarded if such parts are exposed to contact by employees or otherwise constitutes a hazard. 1926.307(a) through (k)

Guarding shall meet the requirement of ANSI 815.1-1953 (R 1958), Safety Code for Mechanical Power Transmission Apparatus. 1926.300(b)(2)

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The OSHA regulation regarding process safety management (1926.64) contains requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. These releases may result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards. The standard applies to any of the following:

- A process which involves a chemical at or above the specified threshold quantities listed in Appendix A of the standard

- A process which involves a flammable  liquid or gas (as defined in 1926.59(c) of this part) on site in one location, in a quantity of 10,000 pounds (4,535.9 kg) or more, except for hydrocarbon fuels used solely for workplace consumption as a fuel (e.g., propane used for comfort heating, gasoline for vehicle refueling), if such fuels are not a part of a process containing another highly hazardous chemical covered by this standard

- Flammable liquids stored in atmospheric tanks or transferred which are kept below their normal boiling point without benefit of chilling or refrigeration. 1926.64(a)(1)

A written plan of action needs to be developed regarding employee participation on the conduct and development of process hazard analyses and on the development of the other elements of process safety management. 1926.64(c)(1)-(2)

The employer, when selecting a contractor, shall obtain and evaluate information regarding the contract employer's safety performance and programs. 1926.64(h)(2)(i)

The contract employer shall assure that each contract employee is trained in the work practices necessary to safely perform their job. 1926.64(h)(3)(i)

The employer shall perform a pre-startup safety review for new facilities and for modified facilities when the modification is significant enough to require a change in the process safety information. 1926.64(i)(1)

The employer shall establish and implement written procedures to maintain the on-going integrity of process equipment. 1926.64U)(2)

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A stair railing shall be of construction similar to a standard railing with a vertical height of 36 inches from the upper surface of top rail to the surface of tread in line with face of riser at forward edge of tread. 1926.1052(c)(3)(i) See additional information under Stairs.

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All protruding reinforcing steel (rebar) onto and into which employees could fall shall be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement. 1926.701(b)

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Construction areas shall be posted with legible traffic signs at points of hazard. 1926.200(9)(1)

Barricades for protection of employees shall conform to Part 6 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  1926.202

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Silicosis is a disease of the lungs due to breathing of dust containing crystalline silica particles. This dust can cause fibrosis or scar tissue formations in the lungs that reduce the lung's ability to work to extract oxygen from the air. There is no cure for this disease, thus, prevention is the only answer.

The most severe exposures to crystalline silica result from sandblasting to remove paint and rust from stone buildings, metal bridges, tanks, and other surfaces. Other activities that may produce crystalline silica dust include jack hammering, rock/well drilling, concrete mixing, concrete drilling, brick and concrete block cutting and sawing. Employers are required to provide and assure the use of appropriate controls for crystalline silica-containing dust. Be sure to use all available engineering controls such as water sprays and ventilation or containment structures.

Appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment, respirators, and work practices shall be used to protect employees from crystalline silica.  Go to OSHA’s website: www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/construction.html for complete information.

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Toeboards, when used to protect workers from falling objects, shall be erected along the edge of the overhead walking/working surface.  1926.502(j)(1)

A standard toeboard shall be at least 3-1/2” in height and may be of any substantial material either solid or open, with openings not to exceed 1” in greatest dimension. 1926.5020)(3)

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Toilets shall be provided according to the following: 20 or fewer persons, ­one facility; 20 or more persons-one toilet seat and one urinal per 40 persons; 200 or more persons- one toilet seat and one urinal per 50 workers. 1926.51(c)(1)

This requirement does not apply to mobile crews having transportation readily available to nearby toilet facilities.  1926.51(c)(4)

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Each employee working on, at, above, or near wall openings (including those with chutes attached) where the outside bottom edge of the wall opening is 6’ or more above lower levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39” above the walking/working surface must be protected from falling by the use of a guardrail system a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system. 1926.501(b)(14)

When an employee is exposed to falling objects, the employer must ensure that each employee wear a hard hat and erect toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems; or erect a canopy structure and keep potential falling objects far enough from the edge of the higher level; or barricade the area to which objects could fall. 1926.501(c)

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The employer shall provide adequate washing facilities for employees engaged in operations involving harmful substances. 1926.51(f)

Washing facilities shall be near the worksite and shall be so equipped as to enable employees to remove all harmful substances. 1926.51(f)

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All fixed power-driven woodworking tools shall be provided with a disconnect switch that can be either locked or tagged in the off position. 1926.304(a)


A jointer guard shall automatically adjust itself to cover the unused portion of the head and the section of the head on the working side and the back side of the fence or cage. The jointer guard shall remain in contact with the material at all times. 1926.304(f)

See also Saws.

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