Job site safety in the home building industry looked a lot different just a few decades ago. Back then, safety gear was mostly optional and visits from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors were infrequent. “When I was doing this in the ‘80s, I didn’t wear a hard hat,” says Ron Stafford of Denver’s Thrive Home Builders. “I just got the job done.”
Most builders cite the construction of Denver International Airport in the early 1990s as a turning point. Three workers died during the project, prompting OSHA to step up its inspections for both commercial and home builders in Colorado. Faced with the threat of citations, builders started paying more attention to safety.