Do Small Companies Really Need to Worry About OSHA Compliance?

The short answer is that everyone has to be compliant, but what exactly are the responsibilities of each contractor on the job site?

According to the Rules of Construction 1926.16(b)

…The prime contractor assumes all obligations prescribed as employer obligations under the standards, whether or not any part of the work has been subcontracted.

The prime and any subcontractor may make arrangements that the subcontractor provide safety equipment and training. However, the prime is still held responsible to see that all safety practices are performed. It is not enough that the subcontractor says that all rules are being observed; the prime must also be on the site, or have a representative on site, to verify that the employees are working in a safe environment and all rules are followed.

The prime has the right and responsibility to stop work on any site where unsafe practices are observed by subcontractors. Any violation needs to be corrected and documented prior to resumption of work. The documentation is as critical as the correction. If, for instance, an OSHA inspector’s visits and unsafe practices are observed, the prime can be absolved of fines if there is documentation that this action was observed and corrected before.

The bottom line is found in 1926.16 (d):

…Where joint responsibility exists, both the prime contractor and subcontractor or subcontractors, regardless of tier, shall be considered subject to the enforcement provisions of the Act.

Pike Consulting Group can work with the builder to create an OSHA compliant program with an active, in-depth training program and job site evaluations that will help prevent incidents and protect the company’s bottom line.

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