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Construction Companies Take Note: Here’s Where OSHA’s Focusing in 2024

Construction Companies Take Note: Here’s Where OSHA’s Focusing in 2024

It’s no secret that the construction industry is full of risks. Nearly 1 in 5 deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry. So it’s easy to see why construction companies are always on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) radar and why construction inspections make up 60% of OSHA’s inspections. Read on to learn learn OSHA’s Construction Focus for 2024.

Two-thirds of construction fatalities occur in four main areas. This is what OSHA calls “the Focus Four Hazards”—or the “Fatal Four.”  Falls lead the group, followed by being struck by an object, and the last two are electrocutions and caught in between.

If you work in the construction industry, you’re probably familiar with the Focus Four and have put a plan into place to protect your workers from these common types of injuries. You also likely know your company could incur costly OSHA fines if you don’t address those Focus Four hazards. But there are some other important programs that OSHA is focusing on in 2024, and you should, too, in order to keep workers safe and OSHA at bay.

2024 OSHA Construction Programs and Standards

Under the Biden Administration, US workers, including construction workers, can expect the administration to vigorously enforce some existing and new regulations, guidelines, and national and regional (or local) emphasis programs.

National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) are temporary programs that focus OSHA’s resources on particular hazards and high-hazard industries. Some construction-related NEPs that OSHA has adopted since 2008 have dealt with combustible dust, hazardous machinery, hexavalent chromium, lead, crystalline silica, and trenching and excavation.

Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the regional office or area office levels. These programs are intended to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the office’s jurisdiction. The emphasis programs can be implemented by a single area office or at the regional level (Regional Emphasis Programs) and applied to all area offices within that region.

Here are some areas where you can expect enhanced OSHA construction company enforcement.

Heat-Related Hazards

OSHA is focusing on reducing exposure to indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards that result in on-the-job illness, injury, and death. The National Emphasis Plan consists of targeted inspections, outreach, and compliance assistance. The NEP authorizes OSHA to conduct pre-planned inspections of high-risk worksites on “heat priority days” where the heat index—of “feel like” temperature—is expected to be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The NEP creates a nationwide enforcement mechanism for OSHA to proactively inspect workplaces for heat-related hazards in construction operations alleging hazardous exposures to heat (outdoors and/or indoors). This means that OSHA can launch heat-related inspections on high-risk worksites before workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses, or fatalities.

Over 400 workers died from job-related heat stress in the past ten years. That’s why OSHA initiated measures to protect workers from heat-related injuries in an effort to reduce heat exposure. The agency has developed a national emphasis program, similar to an emphasis program created in 2018 by OSHA’s Region VI (Texas and surrounding states), to prioritize inspections of exposure to heat-related hazards.

OSHA has tasked its Area Directors to institute the following:

  • prioritize inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals, and employee-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible;
  • instruct compliance safety and health officers to conduct interventions (i.e., providing heat posters, wallet cards, trainings) or opening inspections when they observe employees performing strenuous activities in hot conditions; and
  • expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates present hazards.

Read the details of the National Emphasis Program on Heat Related Hazards.

OSHA Top 5 for Construction

OSHA citations. They’re rampant, they hide in plain sight, and they have potentially dire consequences for your people and your bottom line. Is your organization doing enough to avoid the most common Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations?

Other OSHA National Emphasis Programs affecting the construction work include:

OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (CPL 03-00-008)

OSHA will continue inspections of facilities that generate or handle combustible dusts likely to cause fire, flash fire, deflagration, and explosion hazards. Facilities that fall into these industries should perform a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA), install dust control measures such as ducts, dust collectors and housekeeping programs, install protection measures such as explosion venting, and training employees on explosion hazards and the emergency action plan.

OSHA’ Lead Exposure National Emphasis Program (CPL 03-00-009)

A long-standing OSHA program that’s purpose is to reduce occupational lead exposures by effective targeting, enforcement, and outreach for lead hazards.

OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation National Emphasis Program (CPL 02-00-161)

Emphasizes reducing or eliminating workplace hazards with trenching and excavation operations.

OSHA Fatality Inspection Procedures to Victim’s Family Program

This program outlines OSHA’s commitment to communicating with a victim’s family, or a designated representative, throughout a fatality inspection process. This initiative aims to keep the victim’s family informed of the status of the inspection, preliminary findings, any issued citations, proposed penalties, settlement, and closure of the case.

OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Programs affecting the construction industry

Along with OSHA’s national emphasis programs, OSHA’s ten regions each have their own specific emphasis programs. Some of these regional emphasis programs that affect the construction industry include:

Noise hazards

There are noise hazard REPs in seven of OSHA’s ten regions. As of 2023, 51% of all construction workers were exposed to hazardous noise.

Fall hazards

Fall hazards are getting special attention in all but 2 of OSHA’s regions. Falls, slips and trips are the leading cause of death in construction —of the 1,056 construction worker deaths in 2022.


Cranes in construction are getting special attention in the New England, Pacific Northwest, and Texas (and surrounding states) regions (I, VI, and X).


There are demolition REPs in the regions stretching from New York south to Virginia and west to Minnesota (II, III, and V).

Residential construction

Nebraska and Kansas have emphasis programs on commercial and residential construction following severe weather events.


There is an asbestos abatement REP in the Rocky Mountain region VIII.

Highway & bridge construction

New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all have heavy highway and bridge construction REPs in place.

OSHA’s REPs and NEPs help inform construction companies of how accidents occur and where OSHA focuses its efforts. But ultimately, every company should ensure they comply with all of OSHA’s regulations, preventing accidents and providing their employees with a safe work area.

KPA Can Help You Comply With OSHA’s Regulations.

Keeping workers safe is crucial for any company, but the stakes are particularly high in construction, given that the industry is responsible for one in five job-related deaths. That’s where KPA can help.

KPA’s got the training, tools, and talent to protect both your employees and your bottom line. Let us show you how >>


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Toby manages the marketing communications team here at KPA. She's on a quest to help people tell clear, fun stories that their audience can relate to. She's a HUGE sugar junkie...and usually starts wandering the halls looking for cookies around 3pm daily.

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