Published on: August 29, 2023
Construction can’t take place without collaboration.
The proverb “Many hands make light work” is a call to establish teams, pool resources, and collaborate when there are complex or mission-critical tasks to accomplish. There are few examples in the business world better than construction projects where the principle of teamwork must be applied to get the job done.
Even when the General Contractor has been added to a project after the work has been determined, designed, and engineered, completing the job becomes the General Contractor’s responsibility. This includes all aspects of a project…hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, scheduling inspections, and bringing separate crews and disciplines together.
Without organization, leadership, and a clear mission…the project and the reputation of the General Contractor are at risk. When teams are misaligned or mismanaged disruptions, setbacks, and damage can include workplace morale, productivity, turnover, illness, injury, and in the worst cases…fatalities.
OSHA’s General Duty Clause applies to General Contractors.
The General Duty Clause from the OSHA Act of 1970 requires that, in addition to compliance with hazard-specific standards, all employers provide a work environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”
OSHA requires “reasonable efforts” be made by the “controlling employer” to ensure everyone’s safety on the job site. Since the General Contractor is designated as the “controlling employer” the safety of the entire crew, including any subcontractors and everyone who enters the job site is the responsibility of the General Contractor.
There’s no substitute for safe employees who can identify potential hazards.
In most cases, workplace injuries are easily avoided when work crews are safety-minded and trained specifically in fall risks and hazards. Specialized safety training is the single most effective way to promote a safe work environment.
Referred to as the “find and fix” method, this proactive approach to accident prevention is applied when management and workers collaborate to identify and solve issues before they occur.
Any time a worker might be exposed to a fall hazard it’s important they receive training by a competent person that recognizes the nature of fall hazards in the work area. When safety systems are required to mitigate the risks, user training must be given on how to use fall protection equipment properly. Depending on the systems, training should include procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting fall protection systems to confirm everything is safe and compliant. Rescue plans in the event of a fall are often a part of safety planning anytime fall arrest systems are used.
Conducting a risk analysis creates a safer and healthier workplace.
Before any work or detailed planning begins a risk analysis that assesses threats that could potentially undermine our ability to achieve an objective is important. Commonly referred to as a Safety Audit this process evaluates risks & hazards and the potential impact of the risks on the project. The likelihood of injury and severity of injury is identified as well as the actions that will illuminate or mitigate the risks. In the best cases, the hazard is eliminated and if this isn’t possible, the effect of the hazard is minimized through applying control measures.
SAFE SITES have a comprehensive safety program and employees that follow it.
OSHA’s 1910 General Industry and 1926 Construction Standards require construction employers to have accident prevention programs that provide for frequent and regular inspection of the job sites, materials, and equipment by competent persons designated by the employers. Every employer subject to OSHA jurisdiction is required to have a written, effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that includes procedures to identify health and safety hazards in the workplace and methods to correct those hazards.
In some cases, a Site-Specific Safety Plan SSSP is advisable for General Contractors. This is an initiative that includes activities and equipment used on the specific job site. Whether specific or general in nature, a written safety program will cover how safety issues are identified, prevented, and mitigated. This written document can be anything from a comprehensive safety initiative or specific to activities and equipment used on the job site. Whatever the plan, it must be communicated and be made known to anyone at risk.
Ensure best practices through alliances with competent & qualified fall protection engineers.
Failure to provide adequate fall protection has ranked at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations since 2010. A lack of fall protection contributes to dangerous falls and is the leading cause of injury and fatality in the construction industry.
Beyond on-the-job safety, the right partnerships for engineered safety solutions enable General Contractors to provide value to their clients and support a channel within their own business. General Contractors that have a trusted consulting source for addressing the latest industry standards and regulations on tap are game changers. Especially when that partnership provides access to professional engineering teams and a portfolio of OSHA/ANSI passive and active fall protection solutions.
Our team of experienced fall protection experts is available to answer any questions or concerns you have about workplace safety or general inquiries you have about Flexible Lifeline Systems products & services. We look forward to collaborating with you and helping your crew become Safe and Compliant.