General contractors are responsible for job site safety and held to high standards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations, or OSHA. Penalties for failure to meet safety standards can include fines or in some instances jail time, beyond the much larger cost of having valued and skilled workers who suffer injuries or even death. With these high stakes, experienced general contractors take job site safety seriously, and ensure the safety of themselves, their employees, subcontractors, and others in multiple ways.
Common Hazards and Solutions
According to OSHA, the six biggest potentials for hazard on a construction site are falls from heights, trench collapse, scaffold collapse, electric shock, improper or non-use of proper personal protective equipment, and repetitive motion injuries. In order to mitigate these risks, general contractors and their employees can utilize safety checklists and simple rules in their construction processes. For example, when it comes to scaffold collapse, which leads to fall hazards as well as materials lofted above the ground coming crashing to the floor of the site and injuring anyone in its vicinity, starting with a structurally sound scaffold can avoid this outcome. This means the scaffold should be able to support its weight and four times the weight of the load it is intended to carry, and be erected on solid footing, avoiding any unstable objects, such as concrete blocks or loose bricks, in its construction.
The Use of Personal Protection Equipment
Failure to use proper personal protection equipment is another hazard that contractors can address on their job sites, and here, a safety checklist can be a helpful tool. It is recommended that safety glasses and face shields are used anytime foreign objects may impact the eye or when an employee is exposed to electrical hazards. Foot protection like safety-toe footwear is recommended when there is a potential for falling objects or when working around heavy equipment. Similarly, head protection should be used in most construction environments, and should be kept in good condition. These and other recommendations can be transformed into a checklist for employees to use in order to determine which protective equipment is appropriate for the task at hand.
Cultivating a Practice of Safety
When a general contractor is lauded for their skill and experience, their care and attention for safety on the job site is an important part of those qualities. The conscientiousness and adherence to standards that are at the heart of practicing safety are behaviors learned by contractors who have worked safely on many a project and are meticulous in their craftsmanship.
While accidents can and do happen, an experienced and knowledgable general contractor will take all the necessary steps to avoid careless or foreseeable mishaps. Serving the Bay Area since 1983, Mares & Dow Construction’s general contractors practice safety methods throughout their projects. Contact us today to get started on your next project.