Construction worker safety and health continues to be a major concern for the construction industry. Past research studies have found that including safety requirements in contracts could improve project safety performance (Hinze 1997; Gambatese 2000, and Huang 2003). At the same time, failure to include certain safety requirements in construction contracts can lead to disputes. Contracts are essential to the construction process. In the simplest of terms, a contract may be defined as an agreement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law. A more complete definition would also address the desirability of using a written format, the necessity of an offer and an acceptance, an exchange of consideration, and a requirement for competent parties (Rajendran et al. 2013).

Many construction practitioners see the contract as a legal reference document to be pulled out only when there is a dispute. However, it is the author's opinion that the use of the contract as a planning tool can prevent some disputes on a construction project. Contract disputes can be associated with any or all of four major aspects of a construction project: cost, quality, schedule, and safety. A recent study found that contract disputes can be attributed to safety management (Rajendran et al. 2013).

The construction industry employs thousands of safety professionals with the majority working for contractors - general contractors or subcontractors. Construction safety professionals, whether representing owners or contractors, can play a significant role in preventing contract disputes related to safety management by making sure that specific clauses related to safety issues are incorporated into the contract before it is signed by the two parties (Rajendran et al. 2013).

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