Construction contractors are responsible for ensuring that all work under contract meets or exceeds the OSHA standards in addition to complying with the company’s safety and health standards. The contractor is responsible for ensuring safe work performance of employees and subcontractors.
To illustrate how important contractor safety responsibilities are to the safety and health of their employees, and the success of the construction project, let's take a look at one situation that resulted in the employer being cited about $90,000 in 2017:
If the general contractor had been communicating and insisting that the subcontractor meet all OSHA requirements, these repeat violations would not have occurred. This and many other instances of OSHA violations on construction sites, emphasize the importance of establishing regular communications and a culture of accountability on the worksite.
It's important the employer communicate about safety during all phases of the construction project. From the time the project is conceived until it is finished, safety must be a part of the process.
During the Pre-Award phase, requirements are developed, solicitations are sought, contractors are selected and contracts are awarded.
Key safety related efforts during this phase include consideration of a contractor's past performance during the contractor selection process, establishment of appropriate safety and health requirements in contract specifications and ensuring the inclusion of applicable safety and health clauses.
In the pre-bid meeting, contract safety requirements should be discussed, including:
During the pre-mobilization meeting, the following should be discussed:
Once the project is underway, it's important to conduct weekly safety meetings with representatives from all contractors. These meetings are so important because of the constant change that occurs, and because it sends a message to all workers that safety is a value and that managers care about their employees' safety. The safety and health meetings should include at least the following:
It's traditional to select construction contractors based on three criteria:
However, in a world-class construction company that understands the importance of safety, they will not make a decision based solely on cost. They will use the following criteria:
The DART Rate (Days Away, Restricted, or Job Transferred) is another common incident rate used in all industries. The DART Rate is the number of CASES with days away from work or job transfer or restrictions (cases on the OSHA 300 log with either column H or I checked) multiplied by 200,000 divided by total hours worked by all employees during the year covered. You can compute the DART Rate using the following formula:
For instance, if a contractor has had 10 DART incidents and 200 full-time employees who worked a total of 400,000 hours in 2018, the DART Rate would be:
(10/400,000) x 200,000 = .000025 x 200,000 = 5.
On construction sites, the total number of hours worked by all employees will include your own employees, your temporary employees, and contractors directly supervised by you plus all contractor/subcontractor employees.
The Total Case Incident Rate, or “TCIR” is a common method used to report workplace injuries. It is defined as the average number of work-related injuries incurred by 100 workers during a one-year period. This number will be total injuries and illnesses of your own employees plus all contractor/subcontractor employees.
The TCIR is typically calculated as follows:
For example, if an employer with 50 workers reported 10 injuries in 2013, and workers in that industry worked 1,000,000 hours that year, then the 2013 TCIR for that employer would be:
Use of the TCIR to report workplace injuries allows comparison of accident and injury statistics across industries, among industry segments, and from one year to the next.
The Experience Modification Rate (EMR) has strong impact upon a business. It is a number used by insurance companies to gauge both past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. The lower the EMR of your business, the lower your worker compensation insurance premiums will be. An EMR of 1.0 is considered the industry average. (Source: Safety Management Group).
According to the Michigan Construction Users Council (MCUC), the following EMR chart indicates the relative effectiveness of a contractor’s CSMS.
0.30 - 0.71 = Superior – Distinguished results
0.72 - 0.81 = Effective – Impressive results – Obvious commitment
0.82 – 1.04 = Average – Within industry norm
1.05 – 1.29 = Inadequate – Conspicuous past problems
1.30 – 2.05 = Poor – Lack of safety involvement
As you can see, safety is a serious consideration when choosing contractors to work on the construction project. Using this criteria will not only result in selecting a higher level of contractor safety, it will also result in selecting a contractor that will be more professional in all aspects of the contracted work that will be performed. See the ABCs of Experience Rating, from NCCI for more information on the EMR.
The contractor, the owner, general contractor, project manager, site superintendent, and safety manager, should all have:
All managers on the construction site should be competent in safety management. Workers should be competent in the work they are performing. An OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them" [29 CFR 1926.32(f)] Heavy equipment operators should all be able to show written documentation providing proof of competency. Also, a trained on-site healthcare provider or nurse should be present on large projects (more than $75 million).
Project designers that are involved in the construction phase should do the following:
The general or head contractor on site should do the following:
During the construction phase it will be important to do the following:
If the Contractors, managers, or supervisors find an employee, contractor or subcontractor to be acting or working in a non-compliant manner he/she may have the authority to order immediate correction or cessation of the non-compliant occurrence.
Non-compliance with the Contractor Environmental, Health & Safety Guidelines or regulatory requirements may be grounds for immediate dismissal of the contractor, sub-contractor and their employees. The severity of the infraction and possible dismissal may be at the discretion of the host employer or contractor.
Failure of the contractor to comply with all local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines of the host employer could result in a notice of non-compliance and written notification to the contractors employer. If the contractor fails to take corrective action, the employer may exercise any or all of the following.
In today’s economy, an increasing number of workers are assigned by staffing agencies to work at specific "host" worksites under the direction and control of the host employer.
Before coming on site, contractors and staffing agencies and their workers are aware of:
It also means that host employers and their workers are aware of:
Characteristics of effective multi-employer communication and coordination include:
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