Working together and being able to provide the craft of a specific trade is what can truly make a job or project a successful and profitably one. But when it comes to the safety of multiple workers and trades on-site it got me thinking - who is truly responsible for what?
When digging into this further I found out that every construction and oil and gas site must have a prime contractor whenever two or more employers engage in work at the same site, even if they are not working at the same time. In accordance with Alberta’s Occupations Health & Safety Legislation, when you take on the role of prime contractor, you become responsible for coordinating, organizing and overseeing the health and safety activities of multiple employers and self-employed persons, sub-contractors, on a single work site. This also means ensuring that your health and safety systems are being followed at all times.
Should an incident or accident occur, you as the prime contractor will be held directly responsible, which could mean costly consequences involving OH&S fines, or worse, an injured or even killed worker. Why this tends to be an issue can be summed in the words of our Safety Ahead President, Allan Head, “Many just don’t see how serious it is until it happens.” And if you think these safety issues are few and far between, you will probably be just as shocked as I was to hear that in Edmonton there are 6 serious incidents that occur on the job each day, according to OH&S!
I was also recently informed of a situation where a sub-contractor was working on-site at a construction build. Unfortunately, on this particular day the worker was using a saw that had been fitted with the wrong blade. In a rush to complete the work he continued cutting with it as is, but there was kick back and unable to react quick enough his finger was caught in the way of the blade. Safety systems were not followed and as a result a major accident occurred. In this case, the prime contractor is responsible for the health and safety of this sub-contractor – but safety is truly everyone’s responsibility. The worker should have followed the safety procedures put in place; other workers on-site could have reminded him or warned him of the danger; and spot checks of all equipment should have been done on a regular basis to help prevent or eliminate the hazard.
“Always evaluate your system to ensure it is implemented the way it needs to be,” states Allan Head. If you need assistance or direction in ensuring your safety program meets the needs of all employees on the job, connect with us at Safety Ahead to learn more about our complete Contractor Compliance Program. Reach out via email@example.com or call 780-473-4772 today.
Cited: Alberta Occupational Health & Safety https://www.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.aspx