A commercial construction site is a minefield of potential hazards, and the responsibility of maintaining a safe worksite falls on the general contractor. While everyone recognizes that safety training is important, many assume that safety is simply common sense, and under pressure to meet project deadlines, managers might cut safety training in favor of more working hours. But cutting corners to gain a few hours of productivity, can have very expensive consequences, and possibly even death. That is why it is extremely important to know that your construction provider is OSHA compliant.
There are tens of thousands of injuries that occur every year. The principal causes of worker deaths and other injuries on construction sites are falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, machinery accidents, and being trapped between objects and/or walls. Construction laborers with highest fatality rates are carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters. Other hazards on construction sites include:
- exposure to dangerous substances
- carrying heavy loads
- dust inhalation
- motor vehicle accidents
Confirming OSHA compliance can protect budgets
Under the Occupations Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), workers in the United States have a right to a safe workplace. While OSHA provides rights to workers, it also obligates employers to provide proper training, and to perform tests to determine if the worksite is safe. There are many administrative fines and penalties associated with failing to comply with OSHA. Violations of OSHA can also be used to support a negligence or wrongful death claim. Checking to ensure that the construction company you hire is OSHA compliant can help to avoid higher fees and costs that the contractor may charge in order to recoup money spent on fines or court fees.
The general contractor’s responsibility for a safe worksite can not be easily shirked. According to OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, “in no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall responsibility for compliance with the requirements of this part for all work to be performed under the contract.”
In addition to the obvious benefit of keeping workers safe, the importance of OSHA safety compliance by your construction provider can reduce overall construction costs. Proper safety training can reduce insured losses, administrative penalties or fines, and litigation and attorney’s fees.
Want to read about construction safety in practice? Read about BuildRite’s Construction Management Services.