General Contractors Maintain Safety at Active Construction Sites
General contractors are typically in charge of safety and controls at a construction project. This includes implementation and enforcement with all OSHA safety standards. Trench work, PPE, job briefings, safety meetings, signage, security, public access and traffic control, utilities, and subcontractor controls are among the many items addressed in the development phases of a project.
The general contractor oversees all subcontractors involved in the project. Roofers, framers, masons, painters, iron workers, plumbers, pipefitters, machinists, electricians, excavators, fire protection and security are commonly-used subcontractors. The general contractor may have employees on site performing part of the work, or the entirety of the project may be subcontracted.
Construction trades suffer frequent and severe reportable injuries due to fall from heights, struck by objects, electrocutions, and caught-between (crush and collapse) accidents. Site safety plans must be drafted early and evaluated for each possible exposure to assure the safety of all contractors.
Housekeeping is a huge concern in construction. Slip, trip and fall injuries occur routinely due to items lying on the ground. It is critical that tools, extension cords, ladders, and materials be properly stored. Debris should be disposed of in dumpsters and materials and equipment should be stored securely on site. Scaffolding should be professionally erected. Fall protection may or may not be required, depending upon the project and heights from which work is being conducted. Typically, trenches of 5′ or more in depth require shoring to prevent collapse.
Heavy equipment operators and subcontractors must be properly licensed and adequately insured ($1,000,000/$2,000,000 minimum coverage). Formal subcontractor agreements should be executed with all subcontractors and should include hold harmless and indemnity language in favor of the general contractor. Certificates of insurance should be collected from all subcontractors prior to the commencement of work.
An office or safety trailer should be established on site. All documentation should be maintained at this location. A first aid kit, spare PPE, and site safety plan should be available at this location. Visitor control should be strictly maintained. Visitors should be required to sign in and should never be permitted to walk the site unattended. All visitors should be required to comply with the same PPE requirements as workers.
Pedestrian and vehicular traffic should be controlled with fencing, secured access, and/or adequate signage and barriers. Security should be established to secure the site after working hours. This may include perimeter fencing, temporary lighting, security cameras or alarms, or a patrol service. Construction sites, by their very nature, present an attractive nuisance exposure due to the presence of heavy equipment, dirt piles, trenches, concrete work, and partially-finished structures.
A reputable general contractor is the cornerstone of a safe, successful project. Build a strong foundation by choosing wisely.
Does your company have formal safety policies in place? Are you responsible for workforce safety or risk management? Contact our Kansas City-based safety and risk management firm or give us a call at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.