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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
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This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-98-180

Safety and Health on Bridge Repair, Renovation and Demolition Projects



Protection From Falls

Life Lines & Safety Belts



1. Are life lines, safety belts, and lanyards used to prevent fall risks
2. Are life lines capable of supporting a minimum dead weight of 5,400 lbs (2449 kg)?
3. Are safety belt lanyards of such length as not to permit a drop of more than 6 ft (1.8 m)?
4. Are life lines secured to a firm anchorage above the point of operation?

Safety Nets
1. Are safety nets provided when workplaces are more than 25 ft (7.6 m) above ground or water surface where other means of safety are impractical?
2. Is the net mesh size less than 6 in x 6 in (15.2 cm x 15.2 cm)?
3. Do all nets meet the 17,500 foot-pounds (23,730 J) minimum impact resistance?

Floor & Wall Openings & Stairs
1. Are floor openings guarded with a standard railing? Are floor holes guarded or covered?
2. Are open-sided floors and platforms 6 ft (1.8 m) or more above the floor or ground guarded by a standard railing or the equivalent?
3. Are there standard railings on runways that are 4 ft (1.2 m) or more above floor or ground level?
4. Are the tops of standard railings about 42 in (106.7 cm) from the floor?
5. Will standard railings withstand a 200 lb (896 N) impact at any point?
6. Are stairways in good condition and standard railings provided for every flight having four or more risers?
7. Are hollow pan stair treads filled in with solid material to eliminate tripping?

Lead in Construction
1. Has a determination been made as to the possibility of airborne lead exposure on the job? (Significant airborne lead exposures can occur when welding, cutting, and grinding are performed during structural street demolition and renovation.)
2. If it has been determined that employees may be exposed to airborne lead, have you:    
  a. become familiar with OSHA’s Lead in Construction regulation?
  b. conducted representative personal monitoring to determine employee exposures?
3. If exposures exceed the action level:    
  a. have employees been provided with the required training?
  b. has a medical surveillance program been established?
  c. have provisions been made for the required periodic air monitoring?
4. If exposures exceed the permissible exposure level, have the following additional requirements been met?    
  a. use of engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposures
  b. use of adequate personal protective equipment, including respiratory protection
  c. prohibition of food and beverage consumption and smoking in exposure areas
  d. establishment of a food and beverage consumption area
  e. establishment of a change area with storage facilities
  f. provision of washing facilities
  g. posting of warning signs at the exposure area

1. Are employees made aware that metal ladders are not to be used where they may contact electrical conductors or equipment?
Are they also aware that metal ladders cannot be used when working on or near electrical equipment such as changing light bulbs or fluorescent tubes?

2. Are ladders with broken or missing rungs or split side rails tagged and taken out of service?
3. Are metal ladders inspected for damage or signs of corrosion?
4. Are portable wood ladders and metal ladders adequate for their purpose, in good condition, and provided with secure footing?
5. Are areas around the top and bottom of the ladder kept clear?
6. Are portable ladders used at such a pitch that the horizontal distance from the top bearing to the foot of the ladder is about 1/4 of the working length of the ladder?
7. Are ladders prohibited from being used in a horizontal position as platforms, runways or scaffolds?
8. Are portable ladders tied, blocked or otherwise secured against movement?
9. Are filler blocks placed between the cleats of job-made wooden ladders?
10. If simultaneous two-way traffic is expected, is a double cleat ladder installed?
11. Are double cleat ladders 24 feet or less in length?
12. Are single cleat ladders 30 feet or less in length?
13. Is the width of single cleat ladders at least 15 inches, but not more than 20 inches?
14. Are the rungs of ladders uniformly spaced at 12 inches center to center?
15. Are the side rails of the ladder extending at least 36 inches above the landing?

Lift Trucks
1. Are powered industrial trucks examined before being placed into service for any conditions that may adversely affect the safety of the vehicle?
2. Are defective powered industrial trucks immediately repaired or removed from service?
3. Are the high lift rider trucks equipped with an overhead guard to protect the operator?
4. Is a vertical load backrest provided to prevent raised loads from falling rearward?
5. Are powered industrial trucks provided with an audible warning device to alert others in the area of their presence?
6. Are only trained and qualified personnel permitted to operate powered industrial trucks?
7. Are the rated load capacities of the powered industrial trucks clearly marked and not exceeded?
8. Are raised loads kept as close to the ground as possible to prevent tipping while traveling?
9. Are trucks driven with the load facing upgrade when ascending or descending grades in excess of 10 percent?
10. Are the load engaging means fully lowered, controls neutralized, power shut off, and brakes set on unattended powered industrial trucks?
11. Are unauthorized riders prohibited from riding on lift trucks?

Material Hoists
1. Are workers prohibited from riding the hoist?
2. Is overhead protection provided over the case or platform and the operator’s position?
3. Is a load rating plate attached to the hoist?
4. Has wire rope been inspected for harmful defects?
5. Are there at least three full wraps on the winding drum when the platform is at the lowest point of travel?
6. Is there at least three feet of clearance between the cathead sheave and the top of cage when it is at the uppermost terminal or landing?
7. Are sheave bearings well lubricated?
8. Are brakes capable of stopping and holding 125 percent of the rated load?
9. Does the operator remain at the controls while the load is suspended or the master clutch is engaged?
10. Are gears on the hoisting machine well guarded?
11. Are entrances to hoistway guarded or barricaded?

1. Are flagpersons provided with and made to wear orange or red warning garments while working in vehicular traffic?
2. Are the warning garments of reflectorized material?
3. Are flagpersons knowledgeable of standard flag signals to control traffic effectively?

Trenches & Excavations
1. Has the utility company been notified of intended digging?
2. Are daily inspections made of the excavation to determine the possibility of a cave-in and are necessary steps taken to protect employees?
3. Are shoring or sloping systems used to support the walls and faces of the excavations sufficient to insure against cave-ins?
4. Is there a ladder in the excavation?

1. Are cranes and derricks restricted from operating within 10 ft (3.0 m) of any electrical powerline?
2. Are rated load capacities, operating speed, and instructions posted and visible to the operator?
3. Does the operator understand and use the load chart?
4. Is the operator able to determine the angle and length of the crane boom at all times?
5. Is the crane machinery and other rigging equipment inspected daily prior to use to make sure that it is in good condition?
6. Are accessible areas within the swing radius barricaded?
7. Are tag lines being used to prevent dangerous swing or spin of materials when raised or lowered by crane or derrick?
8. Is a fire extinguisher of at least 5BC rating provided on the crane?
9. Are illustrations of hand signals to crane and derrick operators posted on the job site?
10. Does the hook-man use correct signals for the crane operator to follow?
11. Are crane outriggers used as required?
12. Do crane platforms and walkways have antiskid surfaces?
13. Is broken, worn, or damaged wire rope removed from service?
14. Are exhaust pipes guarded or insulated where employees might contact them?
15. Are guard rails, hand holds, and steps provided for save and easy access to all areas of the crane?
16. Are trolley and two block limits on hammerhead tower cranes working?
17. Have tower bolts been properly torqued?
18. Have overload limits been tested and correctly set?
19. Do personnel platforms suspended from crane hooks conform to OSHA requirements?
20. Does the crane operation comply with manufacturer’s specifications?

1. Is the footing of the scaffold sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the maximum intended load?
2. Is the scaffold erected under the supervision of someone competent in scaffold erection?
3. Are guardrails and toeboards provided on scaffolds more than 10 ft (3.0 m) above the ground?
4. Are heavy loads placed over or near the bearers and not on center plank?
5. Is planking of sufficient stress grade or scaffold grade timber?
6. Is planking of platforms overlapped not less than 6 in (15.2 cm) or more than 12 in (30.5 cm) or secured from movement?
7. Where persons work under scaffold, is ½ in (1.3 cm) mesh screen provided between toeboard and guardrail?
8. Are poles, legs, or uprights of scaffolds plumb and securely braced to prevent swaying and displacement?
9. Are defective parts on scaffolds immediately replaced or repaired?
10. Are guardrails and toeboards installed on all open sides and ends of scaffold platforms?
11. Are railings protecting floor openings, platforms, or scaffolds equipped with toeboards wherever there is a possibility that falling material could cause a hazard?
12. Are toeboards at least 4 in (10.2 cm) in height?
13. When employees are working on suspended scaffolds, are life lines firmly anchored to an overhead structure and not to the scaffold?
14. Are employees wearing safety belts attached to life lines?

Hand and Power Tools
Accidents with hand tools comprise 5 percent to 10 percent of compensable injuries.  Many of these injuries could be avoided with the proper care, maintenance, and use of hand tools.    
1. Are hand tools and other equipment regularly inspected for safe condition?
2. Are tool handles free of splits and cracks?
3. Are handles wedged tightly in the heads of all tools?
4. Are impact tools free of mushroomed heads?
5. Are the heads of chisels or punches ground periodically to prevent mushrooming?
6. Are cutting edges kept sharp so the tool will move smoothly without binding or skipping?
7. Is sharpening, redressing, or repairing tools done properly, using tools suited to each purpose?
8. When compressed air is used for cleaning purposes is nozzle pressure safely reduced to less than 30 psi (206.8 kPa)?
9. Are power saws and similar equipment provided with safety guards?
10. Are tools used with the correct shield, guard, or attachments recommended by the manufacturer?
11. Are abrasive wheel grinders provided with safety guards that cover the spindle ends, nut, and flange projections?
12. Are portable circular saws equipped with guards above and below the base or shoe?
13. Are saw guards checked to ensure they are not wedged up thereby leaving an unguarded lower portion of the blade?
Are springs checked for wear?

14. Are guards kept in place and in working order?
15. Are rotating or moving parts of equipment guarded to prevent contact by employees?
16. Do operators wear eye and face protection when grinding?
17. Is the pneumatic hose line secured to the pneumatic tool?
Are the tool bits secured by use of safety clips or retainers to prevent accidental disconnecting?

18. Are appropriate ground-fault circuit interrupters provided at the job site?  Or
19. Is an assured equipment grounding conductor program established and implemented at the job site?
20. Are electric powered tools double-insulated or properly grounded?
21. Is eye and face protection used when driving hardened or tempered studs or nails?
22 Are tools stored in a dry, secure location where they won’t be tampered with?
Powder Actuated Tools YES NEEDS
23. Do all users of powder actuated tools possess an “Operator’s Card” to demonstrate that they have been trained?
24. Are tools left unloaded until they are ready for immediate use?
25. Are tools inspect each day for defects or obstructions prior to use?
26. Are the following types of personal protective equipment used by operators and others in area of tool use?    
  Hard hats?
  Safety goggles?
  Safety shoes?
  Ear protection when making fastenings in confined areas such as small rooms, tanks, vaults or ship compartments?

1. Is formwork and shoring adequate to support all intended loads during concrete placement?
2. Are protruding rebars covered or bent over where work must be performed overhead?
3. Do employees wear gloves and eye protection during form stripping operations?
4. Are nails removed or bent over from stripped forms?
5. Are clear pathways maintained through stripping areas?

Steel Erection
1. Is a tightly planked temporary floor installed above 30 ft (9.1 m) or two stories when steel erection work is being accomplished?
2. Are safety nets installed where the potential fall distance exceeds two stories or 25 ft (7.6 m)?
3. Is a safety railing installed around temporarily floored buildings?
4. Are tag lines being used to prevent dangerous swing or spin of materials when raised or lowered by crane or derrick?

Dust, Gases, Vapors, Fumes & Mists
1. Are material safety data sheets maintained on each product in use at the construction site?
2. Are agents identified that may cause harm by inhalation, ingestion, skin absorption, or contact?
3. Can a less harmful method or product be used?
4. Is adequate ventilation provided?
5. Is protective equipment used to protect against over-exposures?
6. Are employees made knowledgeable of the hazards when working with harmful agents?

1. Is air monitoring being conducted in areas where there may be asbestos exposure?
2. When employees may be exposed to asbestos, has a program been established that includes:    
Training in the recognition of asbestos, the hazards of  exposure, and the control of exposure?
Caution labels and signs?
Use of appropriate respirators?
  • Protective clothing?
  • Change areas and storage for street and work clothing?
  • Medical surveillance?
  • Proper maintenance of monitoring, medical, and training records?
3. Wherever airborne concentrations of asbestos exceed the 8-hour TWA of 0.2 f/cc or the 30 minute TWA of 1 f/cc, have regulated areas been established?
4. Where appropriate, are the following methods used to minimize asbestos exposure?    
Local exhaust systems?
Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters?
Enclosure or isolation?
Wet methods?
Wetting agents?
5. Is the use of tools, such as compressed air and high speed abrasive disc saws, that create uncontrolled airborne asbestos dust prohibited?
6. Is waste promptly placed in sealed, labeled, impermeable bags?
7. Are all activities involving asbestos being conducted in compliance with regulations established by the Department of the Environment?

1. Is adequate exhaust provided to remove silica dust particles from the work area or operation?
2. Are respirators provided to employees who may be over-exposed to silica dust particles?
3. Can certain grinding, sandblasting, or mixing operations be performed by wet method to reduce the airborne silica hazard?

1. Are hearing protectors and a hearing conservation program provided for noise levels above 90 decibels?
2. Have administrative or engineering controls been applied to eliminate or reduce the excessive noise?
3. If administrative or engineering controls are not feasible, is personal hearing protection provided to reduce sound levels?
4. Is the use of hearing protection equipment enforced?
5. Is hearing protection equipment correctly fitted and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition?
6. Is an audiometric testing program in effect?
7. Are employees instructed in the effects of noise on hearing, the signs of over-exposure to noise, and proper use of hearing protectors?

Carbon Monoxide
1. Are salamanders and fire pots vented to the outside atmosphere?
2. Are exhaust manifolds, pipes, and mufflers in good repair to eliminate harmful leakage of the engine exhaust?
3. Is equipment maintained in good repair to reduce the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, which result in the manufacture of carbon monoxide?
4. Are pipings to the outdoors used when engines must be run for repairs or adjustments while they are in enclosed areas?
5. Are carbon monoxide levels checked regularly?
6. Is employee exposure well below the allowable 50 parts per million?
7. Is natural or mechanical ventilation provided to remove harmful carbon monoxide gases?

1. Are 5 foot-candles of illumination provided throughout the general construction area?
2. Are the workshops and storerooms provided with 10 foot-candles (107.6 LUX) of illumination?
3. Is the first aid station illuminated to 30 foot-candles (322.8 LUX)?
4. Are light guards provided where there is a possibility of breakage?
5. Are the light fixtures raised above the workers’ heads?
6. Are wire guards grounded to the electrical grounding system?
7. Are stairways, floor opening, and wall opening areas well illuminated?

1. Are only trained and qualified employees assigned to operate laser equipment?
2. Do laser operators carry proof of qualification?
3. Are employees who may be potentially exposed provided with antilaser eye protection?
4. Are placards warning of lasers posted in the laser use area?
5. When the laser is not in use are beam shutters or caps used or is the unit turned off?
6. Is it a strict requirement that the laser beam shall never be directed at employees?

Confined Spaces
1. Is the internal atmosphere tested to ensure an oxygen level of not less than 19.5 percent?
2. If the confined space is a manhole, is it impossible for vehicular exhaust or carbon monoxide to creep into the space?
3. Has the space been examined for decaying vegetation or animal matter that may produce methane?
4. Has the space been surveyed for possible industrial waste that may contribute to the accumulation of a toxic or combustible atmosphere?
5. When there is inadequate natural air movement and forced ventilation is not provided, is the internal atmosphere tested for combustible gas and air contaminants?
6. Is the space ventilated to a safe level before employees enter?
7. If ventilation does not reduce or remove the hazardous substance, do employees wear an appropriate approved respirator to enter the space?
8. Are employees trained in the use of respirators?
9. Are electrical services other than lights made inoperable by padlock and tagging?
10. Are employees inside and outside the confined space trained in rescue and CPR procedures?
11. Is rescue equipment readily available for immediate use?
12. Is there constant communication with employees in the immediate vicinity who are not in the confined space?
13. Is there a written procedure covering entry under emergency conditions?

Access to Information About Hazardous & Toxic Substances
1. Have you evaluated your work site for compliance with this law?
2. Has a chemical information list been compiled?
3. Have material safety data sheets (MSDS) been obtained or developed for all substances on the chemical information list?
4. Are the chemical information list and the MSDS maintained in a manner that is accessible to employees within 1 working day?  Is a copy provided within 5 days of a request?
5. When new substances are brought on-site, are additional MSDS obtained?
6. Has each employer provided for the exchange of information regarding hazardous chemicals used or stored on-site with all other employers at that site?
7. Have employees been informed of their rights under this Law and procedures for obtaining information on hazardous substances?
8. Have employees been trained about the hazards of the substances, appropriate work practices, control programs, protective measures, and emergency procedures?


Protecting the Workers’ Health

Although many safety hazards are apparent upon a simple examination of equipment and procedures, occupational health hazards require a more thorough evaluation.  Identification and recognition of the hazard, evaluation of the potential problems, and the workplace control of exposures are key elements in protecting workers’ health.

RECOGNITION - Read the labels from all materials in the workplace for material, composition, and precautions.  Request a “material safety data sheet” for each material from a distributor or from the manufacturer.  Listed will be corresponding OSHA exposure limits (PELs) or “threshold limit values” (TLVs) and information on personal protective equipment such as respirators, gloves, aprons, safety glasses; emergency spills; labeling criteria; and emergency information.

EVALUATION - Study the work process in which the material is used to determine if a hazard has been created.  Evaluate the way workers handle the materials.  Does the worker breathe this substance or does the substance go through his or her skin?  Are workers exposed to enough of this substance to create a problem?

WORKPLACE CONTROL - In order to prevent health problems before they start, certain measures can be taken to control exposure.  Are ventilation or process controls used when feasible?  If the material is extremely toxic, can a less toxic substance be substituted?  Are hazardous substances labeled and are workers knowledgeable of the hazard?  Are appropriate personal protective devices provided when engineering and/or administrative controls are not adequate or feasible?  Are medical exams provided when workers are exposed to certain substances?

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