The #1 mistake that small Texas construction companies make when trying to manage OSHA compliance is dual tasking Project Managers or Superintendents with both building/managing projects and OSHA compliance.
This mistake primarily involves general contractors, but can impact trade contractors too.
Don’t get me wrong, PMs and Supers are the “eyes and ears” at your projects and can therefore play a key role in safety management, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to manage everything by themselves and keep your company out of trouble with OSHA if they show up for a surprise inspection. Here’s why…..
There are 3 problems with this model:
- The PM or Superintendent nearly always lacks the required technical knowledge and experience to understand and manage ALL OSHA compliance requirements including training, routine inspections, and managing subcontractor violations. OSHA laws are complex and difficult to understand, and requires a very experienced and qualified person to manage them. (And no, an OSHA 10 or 30 Hour certification doesn’t qualify someone to manage an entire OSHA compliance program. This is a very common misconception. These are “awareness” level certifications, and nothing more).
- Even if the manager does have some technical knowledge, they never have enough time to devote to safety because their primary role with the company has a major impact on contributing to the company’s bottom line/profitability. Therefore, they focus the majority of their time and effort towards these “profit center” responsibilities.
- There’s often an inherent conflict of interests between production and safety issues, and safety almost always takes a back set.
Add it all up, and OSHA compliance never gets fully managed under these conditions.
This ends up putting employees and subcontractors at risk for serious injuries and even fatalities, and the company at risk for huge OSHA fines and penalties as well as potential civil and criminal liabilities.
This risk has risen dramatically in light of OSHA’s 78% fine increases that occurred in 2016.
If you’re making this mistake, it might be time to re-evaluate by considering outsourcing your construction OSHA compliance to a team of experienced consulting experts.
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