OSHA rules and regulations govern professional work crews that provide residential property owners with home improvement services. The employers of the work crews are responsible for complying with OSHA regs when their employees are dispatched to undertake home improvement projects.
Before an employee of any type of home improvement contractor is dispatched to a residential worksite, that employee must receive proper, comprehensive training. OSHA mandates that employers take proper training of employees seriously, including when employees are being dispatched to remote sites to undertake work. In the construction industry, that includes building projects of all types, but also home improvement projects as well.
Part of the OSHA mandated training regimen includes instruction on the proper use of tools and appropriate procedures associated with a particular job. In addition, proper training before heading off to a job site requires suitable safety instruction as well.
When a worker will be placed on a home improvement project, that employee of a contractor must be provided proper equipment. This includes the equipment necessary to complete assigned job tasks. In addition, it also means that a worker assigned to a home improvement project must also be provided all necessary safety equipment.
OSHA spells out what specifically is necessary when it comes to safety equipment for work functions or tasks associated with common types of home improvement projects. For example, if a worker will be involved in painting in a confined space, OSHA guidelines establish what that individual will need in the way of protective gear.
Homeowner, Home Improvement, and OSHA
Technically speaking, a homeowner is not the party responsible for compliance with OSHA rules and regulations. As noted, the burden for that compliance rests with the employer of the workers contracted by the homeowner to undertake a home improvement project.
Understanding that a homeowner is not the responsible party when it comes to OSHA compliance, even when work is being undertaken by a home improvement contractor via its employees, at that person’s residence. Nonetheless, it is possible that a homeowner may have questions about worker safety at the residence.
A homeowner that does have questions or concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a contractor’s workers assigned to his or her residence can reach out to OSHA directly. A homeowner absolutely does not need to discuss a situation with a contractor initially, although that does oftentimes occur.
OSHA has a toll free number that can be accessed at the agency’s website. In addition, the agency maintains local and regional offices across the United States. The agency can be reached by anyone concerned about OSHA compliance issues, including homeowners dealing with contractors doing work at a residence.
If a homeowner does want to file a complaint regarding what he or she perceives as safety issues regarding to workers assigned to project at his or her home, OSHA does have an online portal through which a report of a suspected OSHA violation can be reported to the agency. In theory, the report can be made anonymously.
Homeowner Responsibility for Safety
A homeowner does have some basic responsibilities when it comes to keeping his or her residential premises reasonably safe. In other words, if a homeowner knows of some sort of problem or defect at his or her home that has the potential for causing injury, that homeowner must advise people invited onto his or her property of such a danger. This would include workers coming onto the property to work on a home improvement project.
While a homeowner does not have a general duty to protect workers from dangers associated with their employment, even if the work is done at a residential premises. However, a homeowner does have a general obligation to protect workers against dangers associated with the residence that are known to the homeowner. As an aside, even if a homeowner lacks actual knowledge of a danger, but reasonably should have known of it, he or she will be deemed responsible for any injury that occurs to someone invited into the premise who is injured because of the danger.
If a homeowner is deemed responsible for exposing a worker on the premises to some sort of danger, and the worker is injured because of that danger, the worker can take legal action against the homeowner. As mentioned previously, the ability of a worker on a home improvement project can take this type of action against a homeowner because of the homeowner’s responsible to keep the premises reasonably safe for any invited visitor to the property.
Jessica Kane is a writer for OSHA Campus Online, where you can complete a variety of OSHA training courses 100% online at your convenience.