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What General Contractors Should Know About Safety

General Contractors liability is a big thing on a construction site. Therefore, under the Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine, General Contractors or business owners may carry the general liability for the safety hazards on their sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to establish procedures for reporting any risks or safety hazards to the employer. 

If any sub-contractor or independent contractor is uncertain about these, you should consult the General Contractor or the safety committee (if any) for information and protocols.

Safety threats on a construction site

consequently, a contractor may not be consciously aware of the safety hazard or impending danger. For instance, these could be safety risks related to: 

  • The handling of materials or equipment.
  • Falling objects.
  • Fire hazards.
  • Electrical hazards.
  • Manual lifting.
  • Slips or falls.
  • Working at heights.
  • Deep excavations. 

General Contractors liability responsibilities

As a General Contractor, it is your responsibility to be accountable both for your actions and for the actions of others. Moreover, you have a duty of care. Thus, you can accomplish this by taking all possible measures to ensure that the workplace is safe for all parties involved. This will go a long way to avoiding any danger health (for instance, bodily injury) or property damage. 

Contractor responsibilities

Occupational Health and Safety is often a team responsibility. Hence, overlooking the violating actions of another contractor may affect the safety of all the other contractors involved in the project. 

Reporting any risks, hazards, injuries and near-misses is part of that responsibility, not only for General Contractors but also for all contractors on site.

Risk management

Because General Contractors liability is a real thing, the General Contractor will take action towards the violating contractor. As such, this is often a precautionary risk management measure.

Actions taken will be in accordance with the terms set in the contracts and safety plans. These may include: 

  • Warnings.
  • Fines.
  • Suspension.
  • Re-training.
  • Corrective action.
  • Or in extreme cases, termination.

Any negligent or unintended hazardous actions may require prompt interventions.  Furthermore, stepping in to stop the hazard or the actions of the contractor may be necessary in order to prevent any bodily injury or property damage. Moreover, this is part of the General Contractor’s risk management. 

Report corrective actions that would incur additional costs or longer time durations such as planking and strutting to trenches to the General Contractor. Complete this prior to further action.

How to mitigate General Contractor liability

However, despite the painstaking measures to ensure safety and their reputation taken by General Contractors, accidents do happen. Therefore, general Contractors are required to carry General Liability Insurance in most states, but is this sufficient to cover all the likely claims, lawsuits, medical and legal expenses?

If you’re unsure about the best coverage against insurance claims, your questions can be answered by experienced insurance agents at Contractors Liability. Call (866) 225-1950.

Avatar for John Brown
Written by: John Brown
John has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. He grew from a star insurance producer to owning one of the largest agencies in the country; he's a reference regarding contractor's insurance, commercial insurance, and builders' risk insurance.