May 10, 2016

Ask a Pro: Why is Contractor Safety Important to a Project Owner?


Q.  Why is contractor safety important to a project owner?

A.  First and foremost, job site safety is paramount to ensuring that every individual in and around the project returns home safely to his or her family each night. It’s the right thing to do at any cost. Fortunately, projects with high safety standards and high profitability are not mutually exclusive. Contractors and project owners that demand a comprehensive safety program see safety as a cost driver and a critical element for budget success. Contractors that have excellent workers compensation safety records are more efficient at reducing risks, being profitable, and completing projects on time.

To select a contractor with a good safety record, implement a pre-qualification process that includes the contractor’s workers’ compensation history and three years of historical safety data. Obtain references from past clients and gauge their assessment of the contractor’s safety program. You can also request the contractor’s organizational chart to see that the necessary leadership structure is in place to support an active safety culture.

Although the project owner may hesitate to “interfere” in a contractor’s safety program, it’s a big mistake to be complacent. Without participation in the process, the owner is passively giving control to the contractor, assuming greater risk, and generally adding unnecessary expense.