Sub Contractor Safety

As a Construction Industry Contractor, it's important for you and all employees on the jobsite to work and act safely. It's a responsibility.

Regardless of your job, your trade or your relationship with the General Contractor, or other contractors working on the job site, there are basic safety rules that must be followed at all times. Each company or contractor has the responsibility to make sure all employees follow safety and health rules and any specific or special rules of the jobsite.

Each contractor should have a written Injury and Illness Prevention Plan for employees that documents the job safety and health requirements and to make sure all employees are trained in these requirements. Employee safety training, regardless of job experience is mandatory. General safe workpractices are important, as is specific training for those jobs with potential special hazards, such as crane operation, powder actuated tools, welding, grinding or other specific type jobs. Each employer on the job site is responsible for all training documentation, OSHA recordkeeping and other required documentation. All employers on a job site are responsible for a written and properly implemented Hazard Communications program, which includes Material Safety Data Sheets for each chemical on the worksite.

In addition to appropriate worker compensation and liability coverages for all employees, it's important that adequate first aid supplies and trained persons be available. Emergency telephone numbers for fire, police and paramedics should be maintained by all work site employers.

There are additional requirements, but the most important thing to remember is each employee must be properly trained for the job they are performing, each company must have the proper safety programs and documentation required by OSHA, the General Contractor and other state or local governing bodies, including excavation and trenching permits. A drug and alcohol free work environment is essential for the safety and health of all employees on the job site. Right now, let's review some of the basic safety rules or safe work practices expected of all companies and employees on the job site, although this list is certainly not intended to be the only safety and health rules on the job. Each contractor or trade may have more stringent rules for safety compliance.

Generally, all persons shall follow safe work practices, render every possible aid to safe operations and report all unsafe conditions or practices to their foreman or site superintendent so they can be corrected. Foremen or supervisors shall insist on employees observing and obeying every applicable company, state or federal regulation and order as is necessary to the safe conduct of the work and shall take such action as is necessary to obtain compliance.

All employees shall be provided frequent accident prevention training at least every 10 working days. Anyone known to be under the influence of drugs or intoxicating substances which impair the employee's ability to safely perform the assigned duties shall not be allowed on the job while in that condition. Horseplay, scuffling and other acts which tend to have an adverse influence on the safety or well being of employees shall be prohibited. Work shall be well planned and supervised to prevent injuries in the handling of materials and in working with equipment. Anyone working with any type of equipment must be properly trained in the safe use of that equipment. No one should knowingly be permitted or required to work while the employees ability or alertness is so impaired by fatigue, illness or other causes that they might unnecessarily expose the employee or others to injury. Employees shall not enter manholes, underground vaults, chambers, tanks, silos, or other similar places that receive little ventilation unless it has been determined that it is safe to enter. Anyone entering confined spaces must be properly trained and comply with confined space entry rules before entry.

When any trenching or shoring operations are in effect, no one shall enter any trench unless it is properly supervised by a competent person, all trenching and shoring operations are done in the proper manner and that no one shall enter a trench unless it is properly shored or sloped according to appropriate OSHA regulations.

Work shall be arranged so employees are able to face a ladder and use both hands while climbing up or down ladders. Straight ladders must have at least 36 inches of the ladder extending beyond the landing to assist employees in safely getting on or off the landing. Only those ladders that meet OSHA specifications may be used on any jobsite. Any damage to scaffolds, falsework, or other supporting structures shall be immediately reported to the foreman or superintendent and repaired or replaced before use.

No burning, welding or other source of ignition shall be applied to any enclosed tank or vessel, even if there are some openings, until it has first been determined that no possibility of explosion exists and authority for the work is obtained from the foreman or superintendent.

Only appropriate tools for each job will be used. All tools and equipment shall be maintained in good condition. Damaged tools or equipment shall be removed from service and tagged defective and not used until repaired or replaced. Portable electric tools shall not be lifted or lowered by means of the power cord, however, they can be lifted with ropes. Electric cords shall not be exposed to damage from vehicles. Workers shall not handle or tamper with any electrical equipment, machinery, or air or water lines in a manner not within the scope of their duties, unless they have received proper training and instructions from their foreman. Only trained and authorized persons shall operate machinery or equipment. Gasoline shall not be used for cleaning purposes. Employees shall cleanse themselves thoroughly after handling hazardous substances and follow special instructions from authorized sources. Appropriate personal protection is required for all jobs requiring the use of this type of equipment. Inappropriate footwear or shoes with thin or badly worn soles must not be worn. Loose or frayed clothing, long hair, dangling ties, finger rings and other potentially hazardous materials shall not be worn around moving machinery or other areas where they may become entangled. Machinery shall not be serviced, repaired or adjusted while in operation, nor shall oiling of moving parts be attempted, except on equipment that is designed or fitted with safeguards to protect the person performing the work. Where appropriate, lockout/tagout procedures shall be used. Employees shall not work under vehicles supported by jacks or chain hoists without protective blocking that will prevent injury if jacks or hoists should fail. Air hoses shall not be disconnected at compressors until the hose line has been bled. All excavations shall be visually inspected before backfilling to ensure that it is safe to backfill and that no one is in or near the excavation while backfilling. Excavating equipment shall not be operated near tops of cuts, banks or cliffs if employees are working below. Tractors, bulldozers, scrapers and carryalls shall not operate where there is a possibility of overturning in dangerous areas like edges of deep fills, cut banks and steep slopes.

As you can see, these are simple and basic safety rules. We did not list all potential hazards or requirements in this program, as it's up to each contractor/employer to know and understand safety and health requirements for the worksite. A safe attitude among all employees on the job site is extremely critical. If everyone is properly trained and performs their jobs in a safe and healthful manner, injuries and illnesses can be prevented. Employees should be instructed to report all injuries when they occur, so proper medical treatment can be provided if necessary and all incidences can be properly investigated. In the construction industry, each contractor and each employee is responsible for job safety and health. Proper safe work practices and performing the job safely is what it's all about. Think about the job, think about safety and if you have any questions about your responsibility, ask questions because safety and health on the job is too important to be left unanswered.

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