Determining the suitability of a project

Ensuring the safety of workers on large construction projects cannot be left to happenstance. Just as we would not attempt to build a project without a proper set of drawings, beginning a project without preconstruction risk assessments could yield serious consequences. Developing a concise safety plan is essential to ensure the overall success of the project. Assessing your company's compatibility with the overall safety of the project includes asking due diligence questions during the go/no go phase.

  • What is your company's practical ability to influence Environmental Health and Safety standards on the project, either directly or through the owner?

  • What is the risk to your company's reputation or liability when part of a joint venture or client led team?

  • Is your company to be appointed as the general, principal or controlling contractor? As such, what is your company's influence on the health and safety performance of subcontractors?

  • Do you hold the contracts of the subcontractor trades?

  • Will you be responsible for organizing or supervising trade contractors on a regular basis? Will you have the ability to review or direct the subcontractors' EH&S efforts?

  • Will your company have the ability to raise the bar from minimal acceptable standards to a more progressive and protective set of standards?

Assignments may exist where the company has no statutory or contractual responsibility for EH&S such as validation works, design commissions, cost consultancy, or other off site roles. However, health and safety standards must still be in place for your company's direct employees. Are the partnerships developed in such assignments consistent with your company's safety philosophy? Many pitfalls can be encountered at this early phase of construction. Some we can control, others we can not; but all can impact our intentions for a safe job. Bidding processes, schedules, owner's circumstances, and subcontractor circumstances are a few examples of what must be considered in deciding whether the project is a good fit for your company.

Design Build Safety Opportunities

Design considerations must incorporate safe methods for construction and allow for the safe use and routine maintenance of the facility. Ideally, design considerations will encompass the full life cycle of the building including sustainability and potential impact at the end of serviceability.

Working closely with owners and architects during the design phase allows the contractor to provide valuable input concerning safety matters. While results are seen immediately during the construction phrase, the long-term benefits for owners and their workers will affect the bottom-line for years to come. Simply redesigning parapet walls to a minimum height of 39 inches will allow workers to access the roof during construction without additional fall protection equipment. The owner's maintenance crews and future contractors who work on the roof will be able to maintain compliance with OSHA requirements without having to construct fall protection systems for routine maintenance.

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