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How General Contractors Keep A Job Site Safe
It’s no secret that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Consider these facts from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- In 2013, 4,585 construction workers were killed on the job, that’s more than 12 deaths each day.
- Fatal work injuries involving contractors make up 16% of all work related deaths.
- Of those deaths, more than half were caused by falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in between something.
Though construction worker deaths have decreased dramatically since 1970 (38 deaths per day), most deaths occur as the result of a direct violation of OSHA standards. Whether it’s misuse of scaffolding, ladders, or heavy equipment or it’s not using respirators and other safety equipment, some standards are simply not followed by everyone in the industry.
So how do you know if your general contractor for your construction job is following proper safety procedures? And what is a contractor’s role in ensuring safety for workers, subcontractors, and visitors to a job site? It is important when hiring a general contractor to hire someone that is experienced and that follows laws and regulations. The last thing you, as a building owner, want is to have an injury related lawsuit on your hands.
To put it simply, jobsite safety is the complete responsibility of the general contractor. The owner of the building and the architect should not be held responsible. The first way in which a contractor prepares for safety is by having liability and worker’s compensation insurance. If something goes wrong on the job site, their liability insurance will protect you. Worker’s compensation insurance will relieve you from having to pay for injured workers’ medical bills. Never hire a general contractor that doesn’t have insurance. If they don’t have this insurance, more than likely, they are inexperienced and inexpensive. This could cost you a lot more in the end.
When creating a safe job site, a general contractor should make sure that their own workers are not exposed to obvious dangers such as electrocution, lack of personal protective equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses, gloves, etc., unstable scaffolding, slippery surfaces, and so much more.
According to HazardControl.com, “Proclaiming to be a general contractor implies the possession of sufficient overall construction project management expertise logically associated with being competent in all aspects of construction jobsite management, including overall jobsite safety management.”
Once subcontractors come on site to perform more specialized tasks like plumbing, painting, and insulating, the general contractor has the responsibility to lead them in safety, while the subcontractors have the responsibility to adhere to the general contractor’s safety procedures. They must take an active role in ensuring job site safety for all because often, subcontractors have hazards that are specific to their industry.
At no point in time is the general contractor relieved of their duties related to safety. A great contractor will constantly remain vigilant and watchful, always aware of the state of the job site. This is why it is so important to hire someone with experience, especially in commercial construction where jobs can be quite large and worth several million dollars. Panhandle Steel Buildings of Amarillo has been in business since 1951. That’s over 60 years of experience in ensuring safe and productive building experiences for all.