Around the world, regions have different rules and regulations when it comes to safety and training for contracted companies and such lone workers.
Globally, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that “although there are no ILO instruments that specifically address contractors’ and subcontractors’ safety and health at work (or for training in the industry), those concerning occupational safety and health (OSH) in general emphasize the importance of OSH training for all workers.
"Safety training should focus on supporting preventive action and finding practical solutions.”
While there are no specific global requirements, here we explore contractor safety regulations for the construction industry in the United States and Canada.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. According to the rules of construction “in no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall responsibility for compliance with the requirements of this part for all work to be performed under the contract.”
Workers in the engineering and construction industry face many hazards, as construction sites are one of the most dangerous places to work in the world - especially for contracted lone workers.
Additionally, OSHA indicates that “to the extent that a subcontractor of any tier agrees to perform any part of the contract, he also assumes responsibility for complying with the standards in this part with respect to that part. With respect to subcontracted work, the prime contractor and any subcontractor or subcontractors shall be deemed to have joint responsibility.”
In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States reported 20 percent of occupational fatalities were in construction. This September, CBS news reported the fatality of a maintenance contract worker. At this point, it is unclear whether the employer or contracted company is liable.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) reports some instances where employers were found to not protect the safety of their contractors—with fatal results.
For example, “On June 12, 2006 a landscape contractor was crushed to death when the backhoe his employer was driving failed to stop, pinning the employee to a wall. The investigation of the incident found that the 30-year-old backhoe had not received any regular maintenance since the vehicle was purchased and that no formal inspection had been done in the previous five years. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the vehicle had no braking capacity. In September 2010, the employer was convicted of criminal negligence causing death and was given a two-year conditional sentence to be served in the community.”
In the province of British Columbia, WorkSafe BC’s prime contractor responsibilities state that at most multiple-employer worksites, “the prime contractor is responsible for health and safety” and offers advice for contractors to protect themselves and take preventative safety measures:
- Get it in writing
- Identify, address and correct hazards
- Communicate and coordinate with subcontractors
- Assign a qualified coordinator
- Establish an emergency response plan
- Maintain accurate records
Essentially, it’s best for both employer and contractor to take the above tips into consideration when working together.
In countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, the governments have implemented legislation that requires the employers to be responsible for the safety and well-being of their contractors.
Canada and the United States still have some work to do so that contractor responsibility is clear for both employers and contractors.
For further information on the leading work alone safety solutions to provide your contractors, contact Blackridge Solutions at (778) 686-5799 or email@example.com