One subcontractor creates a hazard, a second ignores it

by on September 13, 2011 · 2 Comments POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
workerinjuryfall-260x173.png

When you have multiple subcontractors on a work site, the potential hazards multiply.

That’s because, as this case shows, subcontractors may not report the hazards they create.

A siding contractor removed a side rail on an elevated platform, then didn’t reinstall it after leaving the site. A painting contractor came on site and worked around the missing railing without incident. Neither sub reported the hazard.

Unfortunately, a facility employee went up to the platform and slipped off it, falling to his death.

His widow sued both subcontractors. The siding contractor settled before the case went to court. The painting contractor fought it and won, for reasons that might give pause to facility owners and general contractors.

It turned out that the painting subcontractor wasn’t required under state law or the renovation contract to report safety hazards – unless the subcontractor himself created the safety hazard.

Change the contracts
Here’s what this means to you:

  • If possible, write a clause into your contracts that subcontractors must report and/or fix any hazards they create before leaving the work site.
  • Consider writing into contracts that if a subcontractor faces a hazard created by other subcontractors, they must report it to your site superintendent or to you.
  • Have supervisors inspect for hazards prior to signing off on subcontractor work.

Bottom line: Never assume subcontractors will report safety hazards, or fix ones they leave behind.

Cite: Siebert v. Bogard Siding, Inc., et al., No. 61769, Wash. App.

Click to View Comments

2 Comments on This Post

  1. July 2, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Great points.  Having subs report hazards is a very wise protocol and could really cut down on the potential for accidents.

  2. July 2, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Great points.  Having subs report hazards is a very wise protocol and could really cut down on the potential for accidents.

Leave a Reply

Close

Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.