Home builders in Arkansas are scrambling after getting word that OSHA will be conducting random inspections at residential construction sites in the coming months.

Byron Earls, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Little Rock, says that he's been working closely with OSHA officials to get area builders up to speed, especially in two areas: having a written safety plan in place and getting subcontractors compliant with OSHA regulations. Earls says the HBA has sponsored informational seminars to shed some light on what is a fairly complicated subject. “You can sit and read the book [of OSHA regulations],” says Earls, “but even with a master's degree, you'd be left scratching your head. We're bringing in people to say it in layman's terms, to show us how to do it.”

Diana Petterson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, says that the site inspections are part of a “regional emphasis program.” This means that while the other states in OSHA's Region 6 — Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas — will almost certainly be affected, the rest of the country may not be.

George Middleton, director of labor, safety, and health regulatory affairs at the NAHB, heard of random inspections in Florida and Connecticut throughout the summer. However, those reports could not be confirmed as part of programs similar to the one in Region 6.