New Standard Aimed at Public Safety Around Construction Sites

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) has released a new standard that specifically addresses public safety during construction operations.

The standard, A10.34-2001, "Protection of the Public on or Adjacent to Construction Sites," establishes comprehensive safety guidelines for employers, contractors, building owners and rescue personnel to protect the public from construction hazards in the air, on land or at sea.

A10.34 Subgroup Chairman Barry A. Cole of Denver, CO, said, "The public needs to be made aware of the potential hazards at or around a construction site, and protected from these hazards to the highest extent possible. This consensus standard covers virtually all construction, including new or renovated office buildings in city environments, roadway construction, work on or near harbors, waterways, airports, and even light, commercial and home building construction, to name a few."

The A10.34 standard was approved by ANSI on Aug. 11, 2001, and will be published by ASSE during May 2004. The standard establishes necessary elements of a public hazard control plan, covering such issues as cutting, welding, forming and pouring concrete, blasting or pile-driving, hoisting, shoring and other activities that can jeopardize public safety.

The standard also covers preventing falling objects from harming the public by using barricades or nets; guarding the public from cranes, motor vehicles, barges or other machinery and equipment; alerting the public of loud impact noises from construction equipment; making sure that walkways near construction sites are both accessible and safe; properly storing hazardous materials and substances; assessing structures before drilling or trenching takes place; and developing emergency action plans at sites under construction. An appendix to the published standard is included, which features a sample non-mandatory public hazard protection plan checklist.

"The key goal of the A10.34 subgroup is to provide a standard that allows users to recognize and proactively react to potential hazards during the stages of planning and actual work on a construction project, to prevent tragic interaction between the public and construction operations," added Cole, a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) member for 28 years.

ASSE serves as the new secretariat of the A10 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) on Safety Requirements for Construction and Demolition Operations, which includes the A10.34 standard. The A10 ASC develops and revises over 40 active standards and projects to protect workers and the public.

The A10.34-2001 standard, Protection of the Public on or Adjacent to Construction Sites, order number 3834, is available in both a printed format and as an electronic file. The standard is $37 for ASSE members, $45 for AIHA and ACHMM members, and $53 for non-members. To order a copy of the standard contact ASSE Customer Service at (847) 699-2929 or visit ASSE's Web site at www.asse.org.

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