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Poor construction safety procedures put owners at risk

Although profit is the focus in all construction projects, safety at the jobsite is critical. The possibility of risks to employees, tenants or visitors must be top of mind for the owner who, in turn, wants to feel comfortable placing trust in the contractors who have been hired. Comprehensive safety programs should be in place, and both owners and contractors should carry liability coverage. However, the owner may be left open to general liability or property damage claims if he or she has not demanded that the proper safety programs be instituted.

Contractors must implement safety procedures

The safety procedures that contractors should have in place are designed to protect workers as well as visitors against problems like slip and fall accidents, respiratory issues and equipment injuries. Competent Person training is meant to help get ahead of potential concerns by teaching people how to identify jobsite hazards as well as dangerous or unsanitary conditions. Still, some contractors will cut corners. They may not provide as much training as they should, and they may not carry sufficient insurance.

The decisions owners must make

Since the contractor is required to comply with local, state and federal regulations, the owner bears little cost for jobsite safety programs. If the two work together to establish, implement and maintain such programs, workers for both contractor and owner will be the beneficiaries, along with any visitors to the jobsite. However, the risks a contractor faces will likely add considerable cost to the construction contract. Viewed in this light, the owner may choose profit over safety concerns. If an accident does occur, the owner may be liable for much more than he or she anticipated.

Hidden costs

Let us say that on behalf of the owner, you are delivering a set of plans to the contractor and are injured in an accident at the jobsite. The hidden costs attributed to the incident will be four to 10 times the costs represented by the claim you are entitled to make for compensation. Issues that cause costs to stack up for the owner include O SHA citations, the cost of having to replace you as an employee and increased insurance costs, to say nothing of a potential lawsuit.

If you have sustained an injury

By law, there must be safe, healthful workplaces, and this includes construction jobsites. However, the safety measures in place at the jobsite may have been insufficient and a violation may have occurred. If the negligence of a contractor or property owner has been the cause of an injury you have sustained, legal help is at hand. You may have a personal injury claim in addition to any workers' compensation benefits to which you are entitled.

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Romano & Associates, PLLC
230 Capitol Street
Suite 200
Charleston, WV 25314

Phone: 304-932-4604
Fax: 304-345-7626
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