Building Design and Construction

Safety

Responsibility for job safety rests initially with the superintendent. Various safety manuals are available giving recommended practice for all conceivable types of construction situations: for example, see ‘‘Manual of Accident Prevention in Construction,’’
Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 1957 E St., NW,Washington, DC 20006.
Because of wide diversity in state safety laws, the Federal government in 1970 passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (Title 29—Labor Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter XVII, Part 1926, U.S. Government Printing Office).
Compared with state safety laws of the past. the Federal law had much stricter requirements. For example, in the past, a state agency had to take the contractor to court for illegal practices. In contrast, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can impose fines on the spot for violations, despite the fact that inspectors ask the employers to correct their deficiencies. OSHA enforcement, however, may eventually be taken over by the states if they develop state regulations as strict as those of OSHA.
An essential aspect of job safety is fire prevention. In aiding this endeavor, superintendents and project managers often have the advice of insurance companies who perform inspection of the jobs, free of charge. Such inspections by insurance companies often result in reports with advice on fire-prevention procedures. Contractors will benefit from adoption of these recommendations.
To deal most effectively with safety in the contractor’s organization, the contractor should assign responsibility for safety to one person, who should be familiar with all Federal and state regulations in the contractor’s area. This person should instruct superintendents and supervisors in safety requirements and, on visits to job sites, be constantly alert for violations of safety measures. The safety engineer or manager should ascertain that the construction superintendent holds weekly ‘‘toolbox’’ safety meetings with all supervisors and that the superintendent is writing accident reports and submitting them to the contractor’s insurance administrator. In addition, the safety supervisor should maintain a file containing all the necessary records relative to government regulations and keep handy a copy of Record- Keeping Requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC).
Management should hold frequent conferences with this individual and with the insurance company to review the safety record of the firm and to obtain advice for improving this safety record.

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