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EVALUATION OF SAFETY PROVISIONS IN SUBCONTRACTS
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE INT BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
O 2007 Suezann Bohner
For my family and friends who have supported me in all my endeavors
And a thank you to Joe for everything that he does
I thank my parents for all their support and encouragement. I thank my father for all of his
ideas, opinions, stories, and ranting; they never fail to inspire. I would specifically like to thank
Dr. Jimmie Hinze for all of his hard work and dedication to his students and the teaching
profession. I greatly appreciate all of his help and support in completing this study.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....
LIST OF TABLES ............ ...... ._._ ...............8....
LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............9.....
INTRODUCTION .............. ...............13....
LITERATURE REVIEW .............. ...............15....
Construction Industry Safety ................. ...............15................
Contractual Agreements .............. ...............16....
Factors Affecting Job site Safety ................... .......... ...............17......
Subcontractor/General Contractor Relationship ................. .............. ......... .....17
General Contractor/Owner Relationship .............. ...............18....
Subcontracts and Safety ................. ...............18..............
METHODOLOGY .............. ...............20....
Introducti on ................. .......... ...............20.......
Subcontract Agreements ............... .. ... ......... ...............20.......
Obtaining Current Subcontract Agreements .............. ...............20....
Obtaining Historical Subcontract Agreements ................. ............. ......... .......21
Establishing the Validity of the Subcontract Agreements ................. ............ .........21
Data Coding Sheet Development ................. ...............22......__ ....
Compiling a List of Safety Provisions ......____ ............ ...............22
Organization of the Provisions ............ ..... .__ ...............22.....
Safety Programs ................. ...............23..............
OSHA Standards............... ...............2
RE SULT S .............. ...............25....
Introducti on ................. ....._ ...............25....
Section 1- General Provisions .............. ...............25....
Protection of Work .............. .... ............... ...............25......
Providing Potable Water for the Jobsite ................. ...............26...............
Providing Toilets for the Jobsite............... ...............27
Providing Electric for the Job site ................ .......... ..............2
Providing Trash Removal/Dumpsters for the Jobsite ................. .......... ...............29
Section 2- Safety Provisions: General .............. ...............29....
Indemnity Clause............... ...............30.
Contract Compliance ................. ...............30..............
Responsibility for Safety ............ ............ ...............31...
Cleanliness and Safety ................. ...............33___ ......
Safety Supervisor. .................. .. .......... ...............34.......
Notification of Unsafe Work Conditions ................. ...............35........... ...
Jobsite Injuries............... ...............36
Section 3- Compliance................... ........ ........3
Applicable Safety Laws and Regulations ................. ...............37........... ...
Section 4- General Contractor's Rights .............. ...............39....
Restrict Job Site Access............... ...............40.
W aiver of Provisions ................. ...............41.......... ....
Maintaining a Safe Job Site ................. ...............41........... ...
Instructing Subcontractor Employees ................. ........... .. ............... 42.....
Section 5- Programs, Submittals, and Requirements by Law .............. .....................4
Safety Information Submission .............. ...............43....
Contractor's Safety Policy .............. ...............45....
Drug and Alcohol Policy ................. ...............45.......... ....
Drug and Alcohol Laws................ ...............47.
Hazardous Substance Laws .............. ...............48....
Permission for Hazardous Substances ................. ...............51................
Section 6- Safety Meetings and Training .............. ...............53....
Conducted by Subcontractor .............. ...............53....
Conducted by General Contractor ............ .....___ ...............55..
Section 7- Detailed Safety Requirements ................ ...............56........... ...
Personal Protective Equipment............... ...............5
Effectively Barricading for Safety ................. ...............58................
Lighting .............. ...............61....
Underground Utilities ................. ...............63.................
Fall Protection .............. ...............63....
Safety K its .............. ...............64....
Equipment Operation............... ...............6
Distractions ................. ...............66........... ....
Fire Safety .............. ........... ..............6
Section 8 Miscellaneous Safety Provisions ................ ...............67...............
Section 9 Historical Comparison ................. ...............71...............
CONCLUSION ................. ...............95.................
RECOMMENDATIONS ................. ...............97.......... ......
Recommendations to the Industry .............. ...............97....
Recommendations to Researchers .............. ...............97....
CODING FORM FOR SUBCONTRACT AGREEMENTS............... ...............9
SUBCONTRACT CODING RE SULT S .............. ...............104....
SAFETY MANUAL CASE STUDY .............. ...............105....
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............108................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............109......... ......
LIST OF TABLES
4-1 Descriptive statistical data for the inclusion of safety provisions in subcontract
docum ents .............. ...............94....
LIST OF FIGURES
4-1 Protection of work clause .............. ...............73....
4-2 Responsibility for providing potable water ................. ...............73...............
4-3 Responsibility for providing toilet facilities............... ...............7
4-4 Responsibility for providing electricity ................. ...............74........... ...
4-5 Responsibility for providing dumpsters/trash removal .............. ...............75....
4-6 Indemnity cl auses .............. ...............75....
4-7 Sub-subcontractor and supplier compliance with subcontract agreement. ................... ..........76
4-8 Inclusion of prime contract as part of subcontract ................. ............. ..................76
4-9 Subcontractor responsibility for safety ........._._. ....__ ... ...............77.
4-10 Responsibility for worker safety ........._. ........_. ...............77..
4-11 Cleanliness and safety .............. ...............78....
4-12 Designating a safety supervisor............... ...............7
4-13 Notifying contractor of unsafe work conditions ....._._._ ... ...._... ......_. ........7
4-14a Notifying general contractor of injuries. ...._ ......_____ .......___ ..........7
4-14b Correlation of injury notification and accident reports ........._._. ........... ........._......80
4-15 Compliance with applicable laws ..........._ ........... ...............80..
4-16 Compliance with safety laws and recommendations............... ............8
4-17 General contractors right to restrict job site access .............. ...............81....
4-18 Non-enforcement is not a waiver of provisions. ...._ ......_____ .......___ .........8
4-19 General contractors right to correct safety deficiencies .............. ...............82....
4-20 General contractor's right to instruct subcontractor employees .............. .....................8
4-21 Subcontractor safety programs ..........._ ..... ..__ ...............83..
4-22 General contractor safety programs............... ...............84
4-23 Drug and alcohol policies ................. ...............84........ ....
4-24 Drug free workplace statutes .............. ...............85....
4-25 Hazardous communication programs ........._.._ .......... ...............85..
4-26 Hazardous substance laws .............. ...............86....
4-27 Hazardous substances on the job site .............. ...............86....
4-28 Safety meetings and training conducted by the subcontractor .......___........... ........ .......87
4-29 Safety meetings............... ...............87
4-30 Personal protective equipment provisions .....___.....__.___ ............. ...........8
4-31 Effectively barricading for safety ........._.._ ........... ...............89..
4-32 Hoisting and material handling............... ...............89
4-33 Task lighting ................. ...............90..............
4-34 Providing ground fault interrupters .............. ...............90....
4-35 Locating underground objects/facilities .............. ...............91....
4-36 Fall protection............... ...............9
4-37 OSHA safety kits ................. ...............92...............
4-38 Equipment safety .............. ...............92....
4-39 No radios/sound-generating devices ................. ...............93................
4-40 Provide fire extinguishers/protection............... ........9
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction
EVALUATION OF SAFETY PROVISIONS IN SUBCONTRACTS
Chair: Jimmie W. Hinze
Major: Building Construction
Construction safety has steadily improved since the inception of the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971. The construction industry's safety record is still
poorer than all other industries. The majority of actual construction labor is performed by
subcontractors who exercise little control over the job site. General contractors usually control
the pace and coordination of the work. Because the subcontractor has little control, the general
contractor has a greater influence on subcontractor safety than the actual subcontractor.
Many studies have been conducted analyzing factors that affect j obsite safety. The
maj ority of these factors can be implemented and controlled by the general contractor. One way
to implement safety measures is by including them as provisions in construction subcontract
documents. Including safety provisions in the subcontracts effectively makes them a law. The
goal of my study was to evaluate and enumerate the inclusion of safety provisions found in
subcontract agreements. The subcontract safety provisions were compared to the OSHA
regulations to determine if they required stricter safety measures.
Thirty-three subcontracts dated 2004-2006 were obtained from The Florida Roofing, Sheet
Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) as well as various contractors in the
state of Florida. Each subcontract agreement was assigned a number and then evaluated for the
inclusion of safety provisions. This was also done with sixteen subcontract documents from the
time period 1989-1990. This allowed for an historical reference for which the frequency that
safety provisions were included could be compared.
After compiling and enumerating the safety provisions found in the subcontract
agreements, I found that the inclusion of safety provisions has increased over time. The majority
of the provisions did not mandate any stricter safety measures than those already required by
law. The miscellaneous safety provisions found to only occur in one subcontract were found to
be more proactive in their safety measures.
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and the Survey of
Occupational Injuries and Illnesses published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,186
fatalities and 1,766,600 injuries and illnesses in the construction industry in 2005. More than
half of these fatalities and injuries were sustained by the employees of specialty contractors or
subcontractors. These findings are not surprising since a large portion of the construction put in
place is performed by subcontractors, putting their employees at greater risk of sustaining
injuries and fatalities than the employees of the general contractors.
So what role do general contractors have in ensuring the safety of all on-site construction
workers, including those of the subcontractor? General contractors have a responsibility for
worker safety, even when no employees are on site. For example, according to the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), general contractors are not relieved of their
responsibilities for ensuring the safety of everyone on a j obsite, including the employees of the
subcontractor and the subcontractors' subcontractors' employees.
While the role of general contractors for the safety of all workers is assumed by virtue of
being the controlling contractor, subcontractors are also responsible for the health and safety of
their employees. This creates a joint role and responsibility for both the general contractor and
the subcontractor in ensuring the health and safety of the subcontractors' employees. This role
may be altered contractually. Most general contractors include provisions and in some cases
additional addenda and exhibits in their subcontract agreements that pertain specifically to
safety. These are designed to shift risk or they may be included in contracts to help ensure safe
Almost all subcontract agreements include indemnity clauses whereby the subcontractor
agrees to hold harmless the general contractor for any injuries or fatalities that may be sustained
on the j obsite either through the fault or no fault of the general contractor's actions.
Nevertheless, some contractors take more proactive steps for ensuring a safe jobsite by including
provisions directly in their subcontracts that address the protection of the health, safety, and
welfare of all employees.
The trend towards the inclusion of safety provisions in subcontract agreements can
probably be attributed to the decline of self-performed work by the general contractors and an
increase of subcontracted labor, as well as a concerted effort to improve safety performance.
General contractors are beginning to evaluate their own safety standards and practices and
demanding that the same safety standards be complied with by their subcontractors. The safety
provisions may simply require that subcontractors comply with existing rules and regulations
such as those of OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency, or other applicable state and local
laws or ordinances. In some instances the contractor will even include its own company policies
that are stricter than existing governing laws.
While some general contractors still do not include safety clauses in their subcontract
agreements for fear of inadvertently assuming greater liability (taking control of means and
methods), studies have shown that a proactive and demanding employer for the protection of the
health and safety of employees, results in safer j ob sites with less injuries and fatalities than j obs
where employers are not involved with safety (Huang and Hinze, 2006).
My study is an examination of the extent to which general contractors address safety
within their subcontract provisions and the implication for safety on jobsites.
Construction Industry Safety
In 2004, the construction industry accounted for 22,360, or 57. 1%, of all Occupational
Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) inspections. This was followed by manufacturing
with 8,755 inspections (22.4%). Of the construction violations found, 71.1% were classified as
serious "where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result
and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard" (OSHA Facts 2005). The
construction industry also accounts for approximately 20% of all industrial worker fatalities and
9.8 % of the non-fatal injuries. These statistics are particularly staggering when it is taken into
account that the construction industry only employs 5% of the industrial workforce (Hinze 1997;
2004 Survey 2005).
The construction industry's safety record has not improved as much as it needs to and it
still accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of worker fatalities and injuries. The
construction industry has approximately 50% higher injury rates than all other industries (Huang
and Hinze 2006).
Occupational Safety and Health Act
A maj or step towards creating a safe working environment was the passage of the OSHAct
of 1970. This act provides specific prescriptive safety measures to be complied with by the
employers in the private sector with specific regulations for the construction industry. In Section
Sa, the OSHAct outlines the ethical duties of the employer, stating:
shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are
free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious
physical harm to his employees...
The OSH Act also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),
which has the following mission:
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and
enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships;
and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health (www.osha.gov).
OSHA accomplishes this mission by investigating workplaces and enforcing the regulations
stipulated under the OSHAct. Violators are subject to fines, the amount of which is determined
by the severity of the offense. OSHA also assists companies in compliance through various
programs and safety training and education centers (www.osha.gov).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines the responsibilities of
subcontractors and general contractors in OSHA standard 1926.16(c)
To the extent that a subcontractor of any tier agrees to perform any part of the contract, he
also assumes responsibility for complying with the standards in this part with respect to
that part. Thus, the prime contractor assumes the entire responsibility under the contract
and the subcontractor assumes responsibility with respect to his portion of the work. With
respect to subcontracted work, the prime contractor and any subcontractor or
subcontractors shall be deemed to have joint responsibility.
In the somewhat conflicting OSHA standard 1926. 16(a), the general contractor and the
subcontractor are allowed some flexibility for determining the obligations of each party; but it is
clear that the general contractor' s obligations remain intact in the event the subcontractor fails to
suitably execute the contracted requirements.
The prime contractor and any subcontractors may make their own arrangements with
respect to obligations which might be more appropriately treated on a job site basis rather
than individually. ... In no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall
responsibility for compliance with their part for all work to be performed under the
The reason OSHA allows the contractor and subcontractor to determine obligations and
roles on site concerning safety is because of the dynamic nature of construction projects. The
responsibilities are usually outlined in the subcontract agreements and are established before the
start of construction. Whether a portion of the work is subcontracted or not, the prime contractor
is held accountable to OSHA for compliance with the regulations. Often, the subcontract
agreement includes provisions that are addressed in the contract that exists between the general
contractor and the owner. The intent of such provisions is to "shuffle, shift, and ultimately
allocate primary responsibility" for safety on the jobsite (Smith et al., 2005). While the ultimate
goal of the contractual agreements is to assign liability to one or more parties, the inclusion and
more importantly the execution of some safety provisions does aid in better safety performance.
Factors Affecting Jobsite Safety
No known studies have been specifically conducted to assess the inclusion of safety
provisions in subcontract documents. However, studies have been conducted on the
effectiveness of actual safety practices of general contractors and owners. Some of these studies
have also examined the subcontracting arena, albeit to a limited extent.
Subcontractor/General Contractor Relationship
Several construction safety studies have been conducted by the Construction Industry
Institute (CII), a consortium of approximately 50 contractors and 50 facility owners that has
funded studies in many aspects of construction including productivity, quality, safety,
technology, etc. In one study funded by the CII it was found that subcontractors had better safety
performance when the general contractor:
* provided a full time proj ect safety director,
* discussed safety at coordination meetings and pre-j ob conferences,
* monitored proj ect safety performance,
* insisted on full compliance with the safety regulations, and
* had top management involved in proj ect safety (Hinze and Gambatese 2003).
Furthermore, in a study conducted by Hinze (2003), it was concluded that the more frequently
workers had safety training, the better the safety performances were. It was also discovered that
when general contractors included subcontractors' employees in worker orientation, better safety
records resulted. Better safety practices were also observed if the worker orientation was formal
General Contractor/Owner Relationship
In another study conducted involving safety requirements that the owner placed on the
general contractor, many different safety practices were found to have a positive impact on
safety performance (Huang and Hinze 2006). Some of these safety practices included:
* the contractor was required to place at least one full-time safety representative on site,
* the contractor was required to submit the resumes of key safety personnel to be assigned to
a proj ect for the owner' s approval,
* the contractor must provide specified minimum safety training to workers,
* the contractor must submit a site-specific safety plan,
* the contractor must submit a safety policy signed by the CEO,
* the contractor must include emergency plans in the safety program,
* the contractors must conduct daily job safety analysis, and
* the contractors must implement a drug abuse program.
Subcontracts and Safety
The application of proven safety methods is especially important for subcontractors,
especially because they generally perform 80-90% of the actual construction work. As
mentioned before, the general contractor can have a positive impact on subcontractor safety
performance by implementing proven safety techniques. The general contractor can initially
address safety issues in the subcontract agreement. A subcontract agreement, once mutually
agreed upon, effectively becomes enforceable by law. Therefore, including safety provisions in
a contract (as long as they are not in conflict with existing laws) essentially creates a new 'law'.
Most subcontract agreements address safety to some extent, and it is common for
contractual agreements to reference existing laws and regulations. One of the most common
provisions found is for the subcontractor to comply with the OSHA regulations. However, such
provisions only require compliance that is already demanded by law. Most subcontract
agreements do not include substantial provisions that place more rigorous safety standards on the
subcontractors and their employees (Hinze 1997).
With the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSH Act), stricter
regulations were placed on employers and the extent of their efforts to protect the safety and
welfare of their workers. At their commencement, the OSHA Standards were grudgingly and
slowly implemented in the construction industry.
Now contractors are taking more proactive measures in advancing the cause of safety.
Contractors are increasingly including provisions related to safety in their subcontract
agreements. By including safety provisions, assuming they do not conflict or undermine existing
laws, the contractor is either reinforcing the existing laws of governing bodies or placing even
stricter requirements on their jobs. Essentially, general contractors are fashioning safety laws for
their proj ects. This chapter focuses on how the study of safety in subcontract agreements was
Laws that were created, or whose importance were reinforced by contractual agreements
between a general contractor and subcontractor were the main focus of this study. The following
details describe how the study of safety in subcontract agreements was conducted.
Obtaining Current Subcontract Agreements
This study was focused on the topic of safety as addressed in subcontract agreements;
therefore it was necessary to obtain a collection of subcontracts that would reflect a good cross-
section of the construction industry. Subcontract agreements were collected through different
means to evaluate and enumerate the inclusion safety in their provisions. A total of 37
subcontract agreements were solicited from willing participants of The Florida Roofing, Sheet
Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) as well as local Gainesville, Florida
sub contractors. Some subcontract agreements were also provided by general contractors in
Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida areas.
Obtaining Historical Subcontract Agreements
Subcontract agreements were also obtained to perform a brief historical comparison with
the agreements that are currently being used in the construction industry. These documents were
obtained from an archival record maintained at the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building
Construction at the University of Florida. Select documents were chosen from the years 1988-
Establishing the Validity of the Subcontract Agreements
After evaluating the 2004-2006 subcontract agreements, it was found that only 33 out of
the 37 agreements were valid for this study. Four subcontract agreements were determined to be
invalid for the purpose of this study because:
* one was a contractual agreement between an owner and a general contractor,
* two subcontract agreements were found to be incomplete as they only included the scope
of work, and
* one subcontract agreement consisted of only the odd numbered pages.
No subcontract agreements were discounted because of their lack of safety provisions as
the purpose of this study was to determine the current trends for the inclusion, or lack thereof, of
safety provisions in contractual agreements for subcontracts.
The general contractors who had adopted the subcontract agreements were found to vary in
size. Of the 33 agreements used in this study, ten general contractors were in the Engineering
News Record's Top 400 Contractors list. The remaining general contractors varied in size from
local area state contractors to regional contractors.
Data Coding Sheet Development
To quantify the various safety provision inclusions in the subcontract agreements, a data
coding sheet was developed. After the categories were all identified, the subcontract agreements
were examined again and all safety provisions were coded in the data base. This made the data
conducive to analysis.
Compiling a List of Safety Provisions
In order to create a list of safety provisions to be analyzed, each contract was read in its
entirety and all safety provisions were highlighted. A list of provisions was then generated of all
those that were found within the subcontracts. All provisions that were obscure and only
occurred in one subcontract agreement were set aside as extraneous, and would noted as
anomalies found within agreements.
Organization of the Provisions
The safety provisions found in multiple agreements were organized into categories. The
categories that the safety provisions were divided into were as follows:
* General Provisions
* Safety Provisions: General
* Compliance with Laws and Regulations
* General Contractor's Rights
* Programs, Submittals, and Requirements by Law
-Drugs and Alcohol
* Safety Meetings and Training
* Detailed Safety Requirements
-Personal Protective Equipment
Each of the safety provisions was placed into the appropriate category. Each subcontract
agreement was evaluated and all safety-related provisions were examined. Each of these safety
related provisions were noted as being incorporated in the respective subcontract agreements. A
matrix was created detailing if the provisions were included in a particular subcontract
agreement or not. Because the wording of the subcontract agreements did vary, the exact
wording of these provisions was not included, but only the overall intention.
Vague provisions were not categorized into specific groups. For instance, one subcontract
agreement stated, "The Subcontractor shall see to it that their job site supervisor is adequately
trained in the proper and safe use of scaffolding, ladders, power tools, and motorized
equipment," while another stated, "The Subcontractor shall designate a 'competent' person as
defined by OSHA." While the second provision is more specific and refers to the legal status on
a company employee as defined by OSHA, the former provision also requires that there be a
person on site responsible for safety. For the purpose of this study both of these provisions were
considered to be comparable. In cases where such differences occurred between the phrasing of
provisions, they were coded for their intentions. The differences in phrasing are discussed in the
results section of this study.
A supplement to the data coding sheet was also created, listing the provisions that were
unique, namely those found in only one contract. These safety provisions were generally very
detailed in their requirements. They are included in a section at the end of the Results chapter.
Some of the subcontract agreements also included additional safety requirements in the
form of addenda. Some of these addenda included: company safety programs, site specific
safety policies, drug and alcohol policies, and hazardous communication and substances policies.
These documents were evaluated separately from the data coding sheet. The reason they were
not included in the coding is because some of the subcontract agreements mentioned the
inclusion of additional addenda, however, these were not submitted with the subcontracts.
Therefore, a case study was conducted on an additional safety addendum. It was evaluated in
terms of its safety requirements and whether or not they demanded stricter safety practices than
those mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
After the subcontract agreements were compiled and coded for the inclusion of safety
provisions, they were compared to the requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) Standards for the Construction Industry, Part 1926, and Industry in
general, Part 1910. It was then determined whether or not the provisions established by the
general contractors were more strict than those of OSHA.
This chapter presents the results of the analysis of the information obtained from the data
coding sheet used for the subcontract agreements, as well as an historical comparison. Sections
one through seven present information on groupings of related provisions and a comparative
analysis of the provisions from the 2004-2006 subcontracts. The information on the frequency
of use of these provisions is provided as well as actual examples of the provisions found in the
documents. The item number provided after each provision type is the corresponding coding
sheet number that can be found in Appendix A. Section eight is a brief discussion of the
miscellaneous safety provisions that did not recur in multiple provisions. Section nine is a
discussion of changes of the inclusion of safety provisions since approximately 1990. This
comparison was made using a select group of subcontract agreements that were used in 1988-
Section 1- General Provisions
The following section is a comparative analysis of provisions that are peripherally related
to safety. These provisions were typically found in the general requirements section of the
subcontract documents and not found under a 'safety' subheading. Provisions related to daily
trash removal, protection of work, potable water, toilet facilities, and electricity are included in
Protection of Work
Generally the protection of work clause only includes protection of the subcontractor's
work, other subcontractors' work, and an agreement to restore any damaged work at no cost to
the general contractor. When worker safety is included in this provision it demonstrates an
attempt to include the safety of workers that usually only addresses protecting work to prevent
damage or delays. As shown in Figure 4-1 a protection of work clause that included the
protection of workers (item 1) was only found in one of the 33 subcontract agreements.
The exact provision is as follows:
RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUBCONTRACTORS WORK. ... Subcontractor further agrees
to provide such protection as is necessary to protect the Proj ect and' the workers of the
Contractor, Owner and' other subcontractors, and adj acent property from Subcontractor's
operations. ... (italics added)
This provision could encompass a variety of safety measures that need to be taken by the
subcontractor. For instance, removing trash from the upper floors of a building could require
such measures as erecting barricades to prevent workers from walking through areas where there
is falling debris or installing trash chutes to safely remove debris from the upper stories.
Providing Potable Water for the Jobsite
Potable water is defined by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration in 29 CFR
...water which meets the quality standards prescribed in the U.S. Public Health Service
Drinking Water Standards, published in 42 CFR part 72, or water which is approved for
drinking purposes by the State or local authority having jurisdiction.
29 CFR 1926.51(a) outlines the requirements pertaining to potable water as follows:
An adequate supply of potable water shall be provided in all places of employment.
Portable containers used to dispense drinking water shall be capable of being tightly
closed, and equipped with a tap. Water shall not be dipped from containers.
Any container used to distribute drinking water shall be clearly marked as to the nature of
its contents and not used for any other purpose.
The common drinking cup is prohibited.
Where single service cups (to be used but once) are supplied, both a sanitary container for
the unused cups and a receptacle for disposing of the used cups shall be provided.
Five subcontract agreements placed the obligation for providing potable water exclusively
on the subcontractors (item 3) and four placed this requirement on the general contractor (item
2). One of the subcontract agreements stated that the general contractor would provide potable
water, but should the potable water for any reason become unavailable that it was the
subcontractor's duty to provide potable water for its workers. Twenty four of the subcontracts do
not directly address the responsibility of providing potable water for the workers (Figure 4-2).
On the j obs where the general contractor contractually agreed to provide potable water, the
subcontractor could usually safely assume that that legal obligation would be carried out by
another party. However, if the general contractor failed to abide by the agreement, the
subcontractor would still be legally responsible for providing potable water and its
accoutrements for its own employees. In the subcontract agreements where the subcontractor is
explicitly required to provide potable water, it is simply a restatement of the existing OSHA
regulations. In the subcontract agreements where neither party is explicitly listed as being
responsible for providing the potable water, then by law, both bear some of the responsibility of
ensuring that water is provided for the employees. That is, when this issue is not addressed in
the subcontract, the default obligation would be that all employers must provide water for their
Providing Toilets for the Jobsite
OSHA requires employers on construction jobsites to provide toilet facilities based on the
number of employees as outlined in section 1926.51l(c). If there are 20 employees or less on a
j obsite then one toilet is required, if there is 20 or more, then one toilet and one urinal is required
for every 40 workers. If there are more than 200 employees on a jobsite, then one toilet and one
urinal is required for every 50 workers.
As shown in Figure 4-3, it was found in the subcontract agreements that 7, or 23%, stated
that the general contractor would provide toilet facilities (item 4) and in two it was stated that the
subcontractor was responsible for providing its own facilities (item 5). Again, one agreement
stated that the general contractor would provide toilet facilities, but should they become
unavailable, it was the subcontractor's responsibility to supply facilities for its own employees.
One of the two subcontract agreements did not explicitly require the subcontractor to
provide toilet facilities, but only the necessary "temporary utilities" to get the job completed.
Twenty-three of the subcontract agreements did not directly address whose duty it would be to
provide the toilets. Providing toilet facilities is required by law, and therefore even if neither
party is designated as being responsible for them, both the general contractor and subcontractor
are mutually responsible. This shared responsibility is clearly stated in the OSHA regulations in
the OSHA Rules of construction, section 1926. 16.
Providing Electric for the Jobsite
Four of the agreements required the general contractor to provide electricity for the j ob
(item 6) and three required the subcontractor to provide their own electricity for their portion of
the work (item 7). This means that 26 of the subcontract agreements did not explicitly address
who was to provide electricity on the proj ect (Figure 4-4). When neither the general contractor
nor the subcontractor is listed as the provider for the electric power on the job, the subcontractors
must assume that they are required to provide it for their own respective portions of work. Note
that OSHA might not consider this to be a direct safety issue.
There is no specific OSHA regulation that requires the employer to provide
electricity/power on the construction site. However, this provision can be related to safety in a
variety of ways. Temporary and/or permanent power is necessary to adequately light work areas
for safe performance. It is also necessary to provide power for equipment, such as fans, to
properly ventilate work areas. Thus, the power requirements have direct implications for safety.
Providing Trash Removal/Dumpsters for the Jobsite
The removal of trash is addressed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration in
Subpart C, 1926.25(c):
Containers shall be provided for the collection and separation of waste, trash, oily
and used rags, and other refuse. Containers used for garbage and other oily,
flammable, or hazardous wastes, such as caustics, acids, harmful dusts, etc. shall
be equipped with covers. Garbage and other waste shall be disposed of at frequent
and regular intervals.
Out of the 33 subcontract agreements, six explicitly stated that it would be the general
contractor's duty to provide dumpsters/trash removal (item 8) and one of the agreements said it
was the subcontractor's obligation (item 9)(Figure 4-5). In the absence of a provision in the
agreement, the subcontractor cannot assume that this duty will be undertaken by the general
contractor as the subcontractor has an equal responsibility. However, generally this duty is
carried out by the general contractor for efficiency and due to the number of subcontractors that
are typically onsite. It is not reasonable to require each subcontractor to be responsible for
providing trash receptacles for their own waste because of the space constraints found on many
j ob sites.
Section 2- Safety Provisions: General
The following section discusses provisions found in the subcontract agreements that
directly addressed safety. The provisions discussed below related to liability, safety compliance,
safety supervisory roles and responsibilities, cleanliness, worksite conditions and injuries. While
these provisions were directly related to jobsite safety, they were not provisions that described
methods to provide for worker and jobsite safety.
Twenty eight (84.8%) of the subcontract agreements evaluated had a generalized
indemnity clause, however only 15, or 45.4% contained an indemnity clause that was mentioned
within the safety provision that directly related to safety violations. Two contracts also
contained a mutual indemnity clause (items 10a, 10b, 10c) (Figure 4-6). The indemnity
provisions are not included as a worker safety measure, but as a way to prevent legal action that
may be taken against the general contractor should an accident occur.
Only three of the subcontract agreements contained a provision requiring subcontractors
and suppliers hired by the subcontractor to abide specifically by the safety provisions contained
within the subcontract agreement; however, five required the subcontractor to include the entire
subcontract as part of the agreement between it and its subcontractors and suppliers (items 1 1a,
11Ib) (Figure 4-7). Only two of the subcontracts contained a provision requiring the
subcontractor to comply with safety regulations contained in the prime contract, or the contract
between the contractor and owner. Again though, twenty six contained provisions incorporating
the prime contract as part of the subcontract documents (item 12a, 12b) (Figure 4-8).
When such provisions are mandated in subcontract agreements they may also be found
within the prime contract, or the contract between the general contractor and the owner. This
creates a chain of responsibility, from the general contractor to the lowest tiered
subcontractor/supplier, to abide by the contents of the prime contract. An example of a typical
provision that requires the subcontractor to comply with safety provisions within the prime
contract is as follows:
.. Subcontractor shall be responsible for initiating, maintaining and supervising safety
precautions and programs in connection with the Work performed or to be performed by
its employees and its subcontractors' employees: (I) as stated in the general conditions of
the General Contract...
An example that explicitly requires compliance with safety from all workers,
subcontractors, and suppliers whether or not directly hired by the general contractor is as
Subcontractor shall adopt Contractor's Safety Policy attached hereto as Exhibit "I" or a
substantially similar policy for its own employees, agents and representatives who come
onto the job site and shall require its subcontractors and suppliers of any tier who come
onto the job site to do likewise...
The general provisions that require the subcontractor to incorporate the entire agreement in lower
tiered contractual agreements can be found in the scope of work provision or elsewhere in the
contracts that also requires compliance with the prime contract. They would ultimately have the
same effect as requiring the subcontractor to have its suppliers and subcontractors abide by the
contractors safety regulations. General provisions were found more often than one relating
specifically to safety but ultimately general provisions have the same effect as one specifically
requiring lower tiered subcontractor compliance with the safety provisions.
Responsibility for Safety
Fourteen (42.4%) of the agreements contained a provision where the general contractor
stipulated the subcontractor as the sole entity responsible for the health and safety of employees
(item 13). This included not only their employees but also the employees of other subcontractors
and those of the owner who may be affected by or in the vicinity of the subcontractor's work.
Seven of the subcontracts also contained a provision stating that the subcontractor would not
permit its workers to work in unsafe conditions (item 14). Figure 4-9 enumerates the inclusion
of provisions delineating the subcontractor's responsibility for safety. This provision reinforced
the first provision by placing responsibility on the subcontractor for identifying what constituted
a safe working environment.
Conversely, the provision that required the subcontractor to stop work if the general
contractor deemed it unsafe (item 15) did place some responsibility for the safety and welfare of
workers on the general contractor. As shown in Figure 4-10, three of the four subcontract
agreements that contained the provision requiring the stoppage of work if the general contractor
deemed it unsafe also stated that the subcontractor was responsible for safety and health at all
times. The inclusion of both these provisions is somewhat contradictory, allowing both the
subcontractor and general contractor to determine what is safe. However, one general contractor
tried to dismiss this contradiction by including the following clause in its subcontract agreement:
"Failure on the part of Contractor to stop unsafe practices shall, in no way, relieve Subcontractor
of its responsibility."
An example of a provision found in one of the subcontracts that places full responsibility
for safety on the subcontractor was:
Subcontractor is fully responsible for, and shall ensure, the safety of persons and property
in connection with the Work.
A more proactive provision that focused less on liability and emphasized the promotion of safety
and welfare stated the following:
The subcontractor agrees to take all necessary steps to promote safety and health on the job
While many general contractors attempted to assign to the subcontractors the responsibility
for safety, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards (29 CFR
1926. 16(a)) this is not entirely possible.
The prime contractor and any subcontractors may make their own arrangements with
respect to obligations which might be more appropriately treated on a job site basis rather
than individually. .
...In no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall responsibility for compliance
with the requirements of this part for all work to be performed under the contract.
The provisions that probably most effectively aid in the cause of safer work practices are
those which address safety in a more proactive manner and less as an obligation which one party
is trying to evade.
Cleanliness and Safety
Provisions relating to the daily removal of trash and debris were generally addressed under
a "clean-up" or "housekeeping" subheading. Out of the 33 subcontract agreements 30, or 90.9%,
included a general clean-up provision with no mention of safety (item 16). The main intent of
such provisions is to maintain a clean and orderly working area. This prevents the buildup of
debris that the general contractor may then have to take the onus of clearing. This is especially
true when there are a large number of subcontractors on a jobsite at any given time.
A typical clean-up provision as found in one of the subcontract agreements is as follows:
Subcontractor shall, at its own expense keep the premises at all times free from waste
materials, packaging and other debris accumulated in connection with the Work by
collecting and removing such debris from the j ob site on a daily basis or other basis
requested by Contractor.
While the inclusion of this provision is usually to prevent subcontractors from leaving the j ob in
disorder, it also helps to create a safer j obsite by keeping the work area free of obstructions and
obstacles, allowing tasks to be carried out safely and efficiently.
Figure 4-11 shows the relationship found between the general cleanup provisions and the
cleanup provisions with a specific emphasis on safety. Only one subcontract agreement did not
have either provision. Eight (24.2%) of the subcontract agreements specifically referenced good
housekeeping with an emphasis on safety (item 17). This provision was contained within the
safety section of the subcontract agreement as opposed to the housekeeping section. They
specifically required the work area to be maintained in a "safe and clean" condition. This
provision is merely a restatement of 29 CFR 1926.25(a) in the Occupational Safety and Health
Standards requiring that:
During the course of construction, alteration, or repairs, form and scrap lumber with
protruding nails, and all other debris, shall be kept cleared from work areas, passageways,
and stairs, in and around buildings or other structures.
Including a provision calling for the maintenance of a safe and clean jobsite does not impose any
stricter obligations on the subcontractor than those already required by law.
Seven of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to have a person on site
who was responsible for the health and safety of its employees. Four other agreements
specifically required the person responsible for safety to be 'competent' as defined by OSHA
(items 18a, 18b) (Figure 4-12). An example of a provision that explicitly defined the person who
the subcontractor shall provide to oversee safety was:
Subcontractor's Work shall be directed and supervised by a competent person as defined by
OSHA. Such competent person shall have a thorough knowledge of the OSHA regulations
and shall be present at the Proj ect site at all times that Subcontractor's Work is in progress.
OSHA defines competent person in 29 CFR 1926.32(f) as "one who is capable of identifying
existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary,
hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective
measures to eliminate them." Often it is the subcontractor's foreman or superintendent that is
designated as the competent person since as per the OSHA definition, they must be authorized to
stop work in order to take corrective action for unsafe jobsite conditions.
Other examples of provisions that do not directly reference compliance with OSHA
standards when designating a worker as responsible for safety were:
Subcontractor will agree to provide responsible supervision for this work.
The Subcontractor shall see to it that their j ob site supervisor is adequately trained in the
proper and safe use of scaffolding, ladders, power tools and motorized equipment.
Prior to commencing its Work at the job site, Subcontractor shall designate a responsible
employee at the site whose duty shall be the prevention of accidents. This employee shall
be the Subcontractor's j ob superintendent (or foreman, if there is no superintendent)...
The last two provisions very explicitly defined the safety roles that the jobsite supervisors were
expected to fill while the first provision made no specific mention of safety, but only
'supervision' for the work. The provisions that directly addressed safety and delineated the
responsibilities that the subcontractors' foremen must be capable of executing would be expected
to result in better safety performance.
Notification of Unsafe Work Conditions
As shown in Figure 4-13, nine of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions
requiring the subcontractor to notify the general contractor if hazardous or unsafe j obsite
conditions existed (item 19). One such provision that took a very proactive stance concerning
Safety is a concern to all of us. If you feel there is a problem in some area, please notify
Contractor's Superintendent immediately.
This particular provision was the leading clause of the General Requirements Scope of Work
Attachment for the subcontract agreement. Placing safety as the number one value in the Scope
of Work emphasized its importance.
The purpose of immediately notifying the general contractor assures that prompt corrective
measures can be taken to abate the hazards and/or unsafe conditions. Another, less altruistic
motive for the inclusion of such a provision is so that not only can the general contractors and/or
subcontractors remedy the unsafe worksite, but also to prevent employee complaints to agencies
such as OSHA. According to OSHA 29 CFR 1960.28(c)
Any employee or representative of employees, who believes that an unsafe or unhealthful
working condition exists in any workplace where such employee is employed, shall have
the right and is encouraged to make a report of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition
to an appropriate agency safety and health official and request an inspection of such
workplace for this purpose.
By taking prompt action to correct unsafe or unhealthful work conditions, the general contractor
and subcontractor can avoid any fines or shut downs that could result from an OSHA inspection.
Nine of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions that required the subcontractor
to notify the general contractor of any injuries. Figure 4-14a shows the breakdown on the time
the subcontractor has to report the injuries. Six required the injuries to be reported immediately,
two required them to be reported within 24 hours, and one required any injury to be reported
within three days (items 20a, 20b, 20c). Of those nine agreements, six required the subcontractor
to also complete an accident report to submit to the general contractor (item 21) (Figure 4-14b).
One subcontract agreement that contained both provisions stated:
The Subcontractor shall report to the Contractor within 24 hours an injury to an employee
or agent of the Subcontractor which occurred on the site.
Subcontractor shall furnish the Contractor within three (3) days of any accidents)
occurring on the job, two copies of a completed accident report in the form usually
required by Worker's Compensation, Public Liability and Property Damage insurance
The general contractor can have many different motivations for wanting the subcontractor
to report any injuries that occur on the job site. The general contractor may want to be advised of
any injuries for insurance purposes, to perform an accident investigation (and take any corrective
measures to prevent further accidents), or to have the data available should OSHA investigate.
Also, depending on the severity of the accident, the general contractor may need to arrange for
medical assistance. Should OSHA investigate the accident/injury, it is beneficial for the
contractor to have pertinent information on hand. According to OSHA standard 29 CFR
1960.29(d) "the investigative report of the accident shall include appropriate documentation on
date, time, location, description of operations, description of accident, photographs, interviews of
employees and witnesses, measurements, and other pertinent information."
A provision that addresses more immediacy for reporting injuries would be more suitable
for investigation purposes as well as to provide any necessary medical attention. An example of
a provision that mandated this was:
Subcontractor shall notify Contractor immediately following any accident and promptly
confirm the notice in writing.
This provision expresses the seriousness and importance of safety by requiring the subcontractor
to report accidents without delay. It does not allow a window of time for reporting and may
dissuade the practice of non-reporting or under-reporting of injuries.
Section 3- Compliance
The following section is a comparison of three safety provisions that are related to
compliance with applicable laws and safety recommendations. The three provisions discussed
required compliance with:
* Laws, ordinances, rules and regulations
* OSHA, and
* Reasonable recommendations of insurance companies.
Applicable Safety Laws and Regulations
Twelve of the 33 subcontract agreements included a provision requiring the subcontractor
to comply with applicable safety laws, ordinances, rules and regulations. Twenty one
agreements require the subcontractor to comply with all laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
Nine agreements contain both iterations (item 22a, 2b) (Figure 4-15). Twenty one (63.6%)
required the subcontractor to comply with the OSHA Regulations (item 23). One of the two
agreements that required the subcontractor to comply with reasonable safety recommendations of
their insurance companies also included compliance with OSHA (item 24) (Figure 4-16). One of
the 33 contracts included all three of these provisions. Two examples of provisions that required
subcontractor compliance with different safety regulating entities were:
Subcontractor shall comply with the reasonable recommendations of insurance companies
having an interest in the Proj ect...
Subcontractor shall take safety precautions with respect to performance of this
Subcontract, shall comply... with applicable laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and orders
of OSHA and public authorities for the safety of persons or property on the proj ect.
The first provision required the subcontractor to enact the safety recommendations of its
insurance company. Some insurance companies are more involved with their client's safety
performance. These proactive insurance companies may make jobsite inspections and offer
recommendations for safer job performance. Requiring the subcontractor to comply with the
insurance carrier's recommendations does go beyond what is required by law; however, liability
for safety may then be shifted. This shift in liability would be due to the insurance company
assuming the responsibility of ensuring a safe jobsite. It could also then be argued that the
general contractor is liable by mandating that the subcontractor comply with the
recommendations of the insurance company.
The second provision required subcontractor compliance with applicable safety laws and
regulations. Requiring the subcontractor to comply with OSHA or existing laws for the area
where the work is performed does nothing more than reinforce safety performance measures
mandated by law. The general requirements of OSHA are outlined in 29 CFR 1926.20(a)(1):
Section 107 of the Act requires that it shall be a condition of each contract which is entered
into under legislation subj ect to Reorganization Plan Number 14 of 1950 (64 Stat. 1267),
as defined in 1926. 12, and is for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting
and decorating, that no contractor or subcontractor for any part of the contract work shall
require any laborer or mechanic employed in the performance of the contract to work in
surroundings or under working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous
to his health or safety.
In summation, OSHA requires all employers to provide a safe and healthful work environment
for all employees as well as necessary requisite training to maintain such an environment.
The provision also requires compliance with all applicable safety laws. This can include
any local or state laws. Including provisions requiring conformance with 'applicable laws,
ordinances, rules, and regulations' only serves to reinforce legal safety requirements; however, if
specific laws affecting the work of subcontractors were presented to them for the local area,
greater strides would be made for safer performance on the jobsite. This is especially true for
subcontractors who may be from another area and may not be familiar with the local and state
laws. For instance, including specific mention of laws such as Florida's Call-Before-You-Dig
law required under the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act would make the
subcontractor aware of specific safety measures that needed to be taken into account for the state.
This law requires anyone performing construction work to have all underground utilities marked
for the duration of the proj ect. Including specific laws pertinent to the subcontract agreement
can only serve to reinforce and improve j obsite safety performance.
Section 4- General Contractor's Rights
The provisions discussed in this section related to the general contractor' s rights with
regard to safety. These provisions allowed the general contractor to intervene when the
subcontractor failed at their duties and when j obsite safety was threatened. One set of provisions
allowed the general contractor to prohibit j obsite access for safety violations. Other provisions
discussed were related to enforcement of provisions, the contractor' s rights to maintain j obsite
safety at the expense of the subcontractor, and the contractor' s rights to instruct subcontractor
Restrict Job Site Access
Figure 4-17 shows the inclusion of the provisions relating to the general contractors right
to restrict jobsite access. Seven of the 33 subcontract agreements permitted the general
contractor to bar workers from the site for safety violations, drug/alcohol use, fighting, or
possession of weapons (item 25) and two subcontract agreements permitted the Contractor to bar
any party from the site who did not abide by or enforce safety policies established for the j ob site
(item 26). The latter provision provides the general contractor more authority for enforcing
jobsite safety with both those who have privy of contract and those who do not. For instance, if
a subcontractor's supplier is unloading materials in an unsafe manner, the general contractor can
remove both the supplier and the party who is responsible for enforcing the safety policy (the
subcontractor) from the premises.
Three examples of typical provisions found within the subcontract agreements were:
Anyone found on the jobsite under the influence (of drugs and alcohol) may be banned
from this proj ect.
(Contractor may) temporarilyy or permanently bar specific personnel from the site for
reasons such as but not limited to the following:
Drug or alcohol use
Fighting, possession of weapons...
Failure to cooperate with Contractor's supervisory personnel or to comply with
proj ect documents
If Subcontractor, or any person who enters the j ob site under an employment or a direct or
indirect contractual arrangement with Subcontractor, fails to enforce the said Safety Policy
or substantially similar policy, Contractor shall have the right to bar such party from the
These types of provisions serve to reduce the possibilities of accidents and injuries from
occurring on the j obsite. They also are a means for the general contractor to reduce liability by
not allowing such activities to ensue without taking the proper corrective actions.
Waiver of Provisions
Four of the 33 subcontract agreements contained a stipulation stating that the general
contractor's failure to enforce a safety provision is not a waiver of the provision. Six also
contained general non-waiver provisions (items 27a, 27b) (Figure 4-18). A typical provision that
specifically mentioned safety was as follows:
Contractor's failure to stop Subcontractor's unsafe practices shall not relieve Subcontractor
of the responsibility therefore.
This provision did not directly state that the general contractor's failure to act is not a 'waiver' of
the safety provisions. However, that is the intent of the clause. Another provision that directly
addressed the non-waiver of provisions was:
The failure of Contractor to insist, in any one or more instances, upon the performance of
any of the terms, covenants or conditions of this Subcontract; or to exercise any right
herein, shall not be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of such term, covenant,
condition or right as respects further performance.
The purpose for including provisions such as this is to reduce liability for the general
contractor should the subcontractor fail to abide by any of the provisions, specifically if the
general contractor fails to demand compliance with the provision. This is especially important
with respect to safety performance since OSHA allows the subcontractor and general contractor
to somewhat define their job site safety responsibilities. However, the inclusion of such
provisions does not do anything to enhance job site safety performance.
Maintaining a Safe Job Site
Figure 4-19 shows that seven of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions
allowing the general contractor to take action to correct safety deficiencies at no cost to the
general contractor or to withhold payments until the subcontractor complied with job site safety
requirements (item 28). Two examples of provisions related to the correction of unsafe
Should Subcontractor neglect to adopt such corrective (safety) measures, Contractor may,
but shall be under no obligation, to perform them and deduct the cost from payments due
or to become due Subcontractor.
.. the Contractor without prejudice to any rights or remedies shall have the right to any or
all of the following remedies:
b) contract with one or more additional contractors, to perform such
part of the Subcontractor's Work as the Contractor shall determine
will provide the most expeditious completion of the Work and
charge the cost thereof to the Subcontractor;
c) withhold payment of any moneys due the Subcontractor pending
corrective action in amounts sufficient to; cover losses and compel
performance to the extent required by and to the satisfaction of the
Contractor and Owner; and
d) in the event of an emergency affecting the safety of persons or
property; the Contractor may proceed as above without notice.
The second provision was much more encompassing of the general contractor's rights to
take corrective measures on the job site. The second provision also emphasized the importance
of safety by permitting the general contractor to correct safety deficiencies immediately and
without notifying the subcontractor. The general contractor's right to remedy safety deficiencies
and backcharge for them makes it more likely that subcontractor's would be cognizant of
maintaining a safe work environment, especially under threat of incurring extra costs that can be
Instructing Subcontractor Employees
Two of the 33 subcontract agreements had provisions stating that the general contractor
would never give instructions to the subcontractor's employees except in emergencies (item 29)
and three stated that the contractor would never instruct the subcontractor's employees (item 30)
(Figure 4-20). These provisions are only intended to shift liability. The intent of this provision
is to make it clear that the general contractor is not directing the means and methods of the
subcontractor. The inclusion of such provisions does nothing to aid in job site safety
performance. However, the provisions that stated that the general contractor will direct
subcontractor's employees in an emergency did demonstrate the general contractor's concern for
safety and well being of all workers on the site.
Section 5- Programs, Submittals, and Requirements by Law
Safety program submission provisions and safety information submittals required from the
subcontractor are discussed in this section. Provisions mandating subcontractor compliance with
the general contractor's safety programs/policies are also evaluated. There are two sections
devoted to drugs and alcohol and two sections discussing hazardous substances.
Safety Information Submission
Eight of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to submit their
company's general safety program. One of the two subcontracts that required the subcontractor
to submit any additional safety information that the general contractor requested also required
the subcontractor to submit the company safety program. Three subcontracts specifically
required proj ect specific safety programs to be submitted by the subcontractor (items 31la, 31Ib,
32) (Figure 4-21). The establishment and maintenance of a company safety program is required
by OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.20(b):
Accident prevention responsibilities.
(1) It shall be the responsibility of the employer to initiate and maintain such
programs as may be necessary to comply with this part.
(2) Such programs shall provide for frequent and regular inspections of the
job sites, materials, and equipment to be made by competent persons
designated by the employers.
The following are typical generic provisions that required the subcontractor to submit its
safety program to the general contractor:
.. Subcontractor must have an established safety program as well.
.. and (the Subcontractor) will submit its own safety program, which shall be at least as
stringent as Contractor's safety program.
The requirements set forth by these provisions did not adequately address safety. They did not
require the subcontractor to provide a proj ect specific safety program nor did it demand any
conformity to safety standards such as the OSHA regulations.
The following was a provision that required a more proj ect specific safety program:
Subcontractor shall establish a safety program implementing safety measures, policies and
standards conforming to those required or recommended by government and quasi-
governmental authorities having jurisdiction and by the Contractor and Owner, including,
but not limited to, requirements imposed by the Contract Documents.
This provision required the subcontractor to develop a safety program that would conform to the
project requirements as well as comply with any government safety authorities for the area. This
would include state and local agencies as well as OSHA. Establishing a safety program to
conform to the requirements of this provision would more adequately prepare the subcontractors
and their workers for job specific safety hazards.
Two of the subcontract agreements also required that any safety information the general
contractor requested would be provided. One provision stated "and (Subcontractor) shall supply
any requested safety information." The general contractor could have used this provision to
require the subcontractor to submit any company safety information including, experience
modification rates (EMR) or OSHA recordable injury rates. Both of these are measurements of a
contractor's safety performance and are often used for pre-qualification and insurance purposes.
The other provision found in the subcontract agreements was more specific and required the
subcontractor to submit evidence of safety compliance upon request. This provision would be
more beneficial for current proj ect safety performance allowing the general contractor to ensure
that its subcontractors are in compliance with applicable safety standards.
Contractor's Safety Policy
Eighteen (54.5%) of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to comply
with the general contractors safety policy (item 33). Also, nine (27.3%) of the agreements
included additional addenda or attachments related to safety (item 34) (Figure 4-22). These
attachments included safety policies, drug and alcohol abuse policies, or policies on hazardous
An example of a provision requiring subcontractor compliance with the general contractor
safety policy was:
Subcontractor will cooperate with Contractor on any overall safety program for the Proj ect
(including prevention and reporting of substance abuse)...
This provision mandated subcontractor compliance on a safety program that was specifically
designed for the proj ect. Job specific safety programs result in safer job performance.
Not all of the safety attachments referenced in the provisions of the subcontract agreements
were submitted to this study. Therefore, a review of only one of the attached general contractor's
safety policies was conducted. A brief discussion of this safety policy can be found in Appendix
Drug and Alcohol Policy
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements contained a provision requiring the subcontractor
to comply with the general contractor's drug and alcohol policy (item 35) and another three
contained a provision that required the subcontractor to implement and enforce its own substance
abuse control program (item 36). Three subcontract agreements also required that none of the
subcontractor's employees be under the influence, possess, or consume drugs or alcohol (item
37). Figure 4-23 shows the breakdown of the inclusion of drug and alcohol policy provisions in
An example of a provision requiring compliance with the general contractor's drug and
alcohol abuse policy was:
The Subcontractor acknowledges the receipt of (Contractor's) "Safety, Health and
Environmental Policy", "Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy" and "Sexual Harassment
Policy". Subj ect to applicable law this Subcontractor further agrees to be bound to these
policies as a part of the supplemental and special conditions to the contract for construction
of the proj ect.
A typical provision that required the subcontractor to implement a safety program is as follows:
If requested by Contractor, Subcontractor agrees to implement, administer and enforce a
substance abuse control program. Contractor shall have no responsibility with regard to
such implementation, administration and enforcement.
Both of these provisions did not explicitly state the control measures which must be taken with
regard to the substance abuse programs. Drug and alcohol abuse programs could require
prescriptive measures such as at-hire drug testing, random drug testing, or drug testing following
accidents. It could also have included drug abuse education or programs to rehabilitate workers
found abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
Another provision that was more definitive in its drug and alcohol policy requirements was
Subcontractor agrees that no persons under its employ shall bring onto, possess, sell or use
alcohol, narcotics, drugs (other than prescription drugs, provided the person in possession
of the drug has a valid prescription in his or her name, or over-the-counter drugs which
may be purchased legally by the person), or controlled substances while on the
construction site, including parking lots, at any time, including all breaks and lunch
periods. Subcontractor further agrees that no persons under its employ shall report to, or
commence, or continue to work while under the influence of alcohol or any drugs,
regardless of whether those drugs were legally or illegally taken. Subcontractor otherwise
agrees to comply with all applicable Federal, State or other governmental requirements
which may exist pertaining to alcohol and drug and related testing programs, as may be in
effect or be required to be instituted.
This provision specifically required the subcontractor to know and determine whether its
employees were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol while on the jobsite. Determining
whether or not employees are impaired on the jobsite is very important for the safety and welfare
of not only that worker, but those involved in work tasks with or near the impaired employee.
Drug and Alcohol Laws
Four of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to comply with Drug
Free Workplace Statutes, specifically requiring compliance with Florida Statutes 440.101 and
440.102 (item 38) (Figure 4-24). Florida Statute 440 is for Workers Compensation and has
specific requirements for maintaining a drug free work environment. Florida Statute 440.101
states the legislative intent for a drug free workplace:
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote drug-free workplaces in order that
employers in the state be afforded the opportunity to maximize their levels of productivity,
enhance their competitive positions in the marketplace, and reach their desired levels of
success without experiencing the costs, delays, and tragedies associated with work-related
accidents resulting from drug abuse by employees. It is further the intent of the Legislature
that drug abuse be discouraged and that employees who choose to engage in drug abuse
face the risk of unemployment and the forfeiture of workers' compensation benefits.
(2) If an employer implements a drug-free workplace program in accordance with s.
440.102 which includes notice, education, and procedural requirements for testing for
drugs and alcohol pursuant to law or to rules developed by the Agency for Health Care
Administration, the employer may require the employee to submit to a test for the presence
of drugs or alcohol and, if a drug or alcohol is found to be present in the employee's system
at a level prescribed by rule adopted pursuant to this act, the employee may be terminated
and forfeits his or her eligibility for medical and indemnity benefits. However, a drug-free
workplace program must require the employer to notify all employees that it is a condition
of employment for an employee to refrain from reporting to work or working with the
presence of drugs or alcohol in his or her body and, if an injured employee refuses to
submit to a test for drugs or alcohol, the employee forfeits eligibility for medical and
The following is an example of a provision that required compliance with Drug Free
Subcontractor shall comply with the provisions of the Drug Free Workplace Statutes
including, but not limited to, Sections 44.101 and 440.102, Florida Statutes, and shall
implement and maintain a drug free environment.
Including similar provisions in the subcontract agreements does not place any more stringent
safety requirements on subcontractors than those already required by law.
Hazardous Substance Laws
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions that required the
subcontractor to abide by the contractor's hazardous communication program and three others
required the subcontractor to provide their own hazardous communication program(items 39a,
39b) (Figure 4-25). Sixteen (48.5%) required compliance with MSDS requirements (item 40), 5
required proper disposal of hazardous substance (some citing applicable laws) (item 41), and 5
required the subcontractor to stop work and inform the general contractor if asbestos or
polychlorinated biphenyl or any other hazardous substance was found to be present (item 42).
Figure 4-26 shows the overlapping occurrence of the inclusion of these three provisions.
Including any of these provisions does not place stricter requirements on the subcontractor and
only restates the subcontractor's obligations to comply with existing laws.
OSHA requires a hazardous material program under standard 29 CFR 1926.65(b)(1) which
(i)Employers shall develop and implement a written safety and health program for their
employees involved in hazardous waste operations. The program shall be designed to
identify, evaluate, and control safety and health hazards, and provide for emergency
response for hazardous waste operations.
(ii)The written safety and health program shall incorporate the following:
(A) An organizational structure;
(B) A comprehensive workplan;
(C) A site-specific safety and health plan which need not repeat the employer's
standard operating procedures required in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(F) of this
(D) The safety and health training program;
(E) The medical surveillance program;
(F) The employer's standard operating procedures for safety and health; and
(G) Any necessary interface between general program and site specific
A typical provision that required the subcontractor to comply with the general contractor's
hazardous communication program was:
It is expressly understood and agreed that Subcontractor will comply with Contractor's
"Hazard Communication Program," as outlined in Contractor's Subcontractor Safety
Requiring the subcontractor to comply with the general contractor's hazardous communication
program only reinforces existing laws. It also relieves the subcontractor of having to create their
own program. The provision provides for a uniform response from all workers and employees
on the job site.
Other provisions related to hazardous materials on the j obsite were provisions related to
material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirements such as the following:
Subcontractor shall furnish a copy to Contractor the applicable Material Safety Data Sheets
(MSDS) for all hazardous materials or chemicals used in connection with or consumed or
incorporated into this Proj ect as required by the Hazard Communication Standard of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Requiring the subcontractor to provide MSDSs on all toxic and hazardous substances that they
bring on site is also only a reinforcement of existing laws. Under OSHA standard 29 CFR
Chemical manufacturers and importers shall obtain or develop a material safety data sheet
for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Employers shall have a material
safety data sheet in the workplace for each hazardous chemical which they use.
The standard continues by stating all of the information that is required on the MSDS form,
including but not limited to the common name, ingredients determined to be health hazards,
physical and chemical characteristics, signs of exposure, and the OSHA permissible exposure
There are also many different laws related to the proper disposal of hazardous substances.
An example of a provision found in one of the subcontract agreements was:
Subcontractor agrees not to dispose of any hazardous waste, asbestos, PCB's or VOC's,
including but not limited to paints, solvents, cleaning compounds, degreasers, paint
thinners, or any other associated products and their respective containers in any
dumpster(s) unless specifically designated for such purpose. ..
All haul off and disposal of debris and hazardous waste shall be by Subcontractor in
accordance with Specifications, Contract Documents, EPA, local, county and state and any
other associated agencies.
The illegal and inappropriate disposal of hazardous wastes can have adverse affects on the health
and safety of the construction workers as well as any others who may come into contact with the
substances without adequate protection. The disposal of hazardous substances also needs to be
controlled to prevent detrimental affects on the environment.
There are various laws that manage the disposal of hazardous substances. The
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established standards for the handling,
transportation, and disposal of hazardous substances. The EPA also allows states to establish
their own laws providing they are at least as stringent as those of the EPA. In conjunction with
the EPA's laws, CERCLA gives further authority to the government to respond when necessary
to provide hazardous waste clean up. It is a 'superfund' that the federal government can use for
immediate response and then later pursue the parties responsible for the contamination for up to
three times the amount. By including a provision that specifically sites this law, the general
contractor is making the subcontractor liable for any monies that they might otherwise try to
recover from the general contractor for the subcontractor's inaction or improper disposal of
Lastly, OSHA also mandates proper disposal of hazardous and flammable substances (and
other waste) in designated containers in standard 29 CFR 1926.25(c):
Containers shall be provided for the collection and separation of waste, trash, oily and used
rags, and other refuse. Containers used for garbage and other oily, flammable, or hazardous
wastes, such as caustics, acids, harmful dusts, etc. shall be equipped with covers. Garbage
and other waste shall be disposed of at frequent and regular intervals.
Also, OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.65 deals with Hazardous Waste Operations and
Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). This section is more specific with regards to waste
disposal and references other regulations that need to be followed. OSHA also has established
standards that delineate how common hazardous substances found on construction sites need to
be stored and disposed of properly.
One of the specific hazardous substances that OSHA addresses is asbestos. Standard 29
CFR 1926. 1101 contains procedures for the protection of workers and proper disposal or
encapsulation of asbestos. A typical provision that required the subcontractor to notify the
general contractor of the presence of asbestos was:
In the event the Subcontractor encounters on the site material reasonably believed to be
asbestos or polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) which has not been rendered harmless, the
Subcontractor shall immediately stop Work in the area affected and report the condition to
the Contractor in writing.
A reason the general contractor may have required notification of any asbestos present on the
jobsite is because OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926. 1101(d)(5) states that:
All general contractors on a construction proj ect which includes work covered by this
standard shall be deemed to exercise general supervisory authority over the work covered
by this standard, even though the general contractor is not qualified to serve as the asbestos
"competent person" as defined by paragraph (b) of this section. As supervisor of the entire
proj ect, the general contractor shall ascertain whether the asbestos contractor is in
compliance with this standard, and shall require such contractor to come into compliance
with this standard when necessary.
Therefore, if any asbestos is found on the j ob site, it is ultimately the general contractor's
responsibility to ensure that all workers on the job site comply with OSHA standard 29 CFR
Permission for Hazardous Substances
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions requiring the subcontractor to
give written notice of hazardous substances it will bring on site (item 43), four agreements
required the approval of the architect or owner for hazardous substances to be brought on the j ob
site, and one expressly forbid the subcontractor from bringing hazardous substances on the j ob
site (items 44a, 44b). Figure 4-27 shows the allowances and permission required to bring
hazardous substances on the job site. A hazardous substance is defined by OSHA in Standard 29
CFR 1926.65(a) (3) as any substance,
exposure to which results or may result in adverse affects on the health or safety of
(A) Any substance defined under section 101(14) of CERCLA;
(B) Any biological agent and other disease-causing agent which after release into the
environment and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or assimilation into any person,
either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through food chains, will or
may reasonably be anticipated to cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer,
genetic mutation, physiological malfunctions (including malfunctions in reproduction) or
physical deformations in such persons or their offspring;
(C) Any substance listed by the U.S. Department of Transportation as hazardous materials
under 49 CFR 172.101 and appendices; and
(D) Hazardous waste as herein defined.
and, hazardous waste is defined as:
(A) A waste or combination of wastes as defined in 40 CFR 261.3, or
(B) Those substances defined as hazardous wastes in 49 CFR 171.8.
An example of a provision that required the subcontractor to forewarn the general contractor of
hazardous substances that it may bring on site is as follows:
If hazardous substances of a type of which an employer is required by law to notify its
employees are being used on the site by the Subcontractor, the Subcontractor's Sub-
subcontractors or anyone directly or indirectly employed by them, the Subcontractor shall,
prior to harmful exposure of any employees on the site to such substance, give written
notice of the chemical composition thereof to the Contractor in sufficient detail and time to
permit compliance with such laws by the Contractor, other Subcontractors and other
employees on the site.
Giving written notice to the general contractor allowed enough time for all other workers and
subcontractors to receive notice and proper safety training for dealing with the hazardous
substances. It also ensured that all applicable Material Safety and Data Sheets are available on
the jobsite as required by the OSHA Standards.
As a further step taken to control the hazardous substances that may be brought on site, six
subcontract agreements included provisions mandating that no hazardous substances were
allowed to be brought on site. A typical provision stated:
The Subcontractor warrants and agrees that it will not introduce, release, distribute, or
otherwise cause the introduction into any area, any toxic, pollutant, contaminate, or
hazardous materials including but not limited to, asbestos, fuels, petroleum products, and
In some instances, this included a stipulation that hazardous substances could be brought on site
with the approval of the architect or owner.
Section 6- Safety Meetings and Training
The following section is an analysis of provisions related to safety meetings and training.
This included provisions requiring the subcontractor to conduct their own safety meetings and
training as well as mandating that the subcontractor attend those conducted by the general
Conducted by Subcontractor
Ten (32%) of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to conduct weekly
safety/toolbox meetings (item 45) and moreover, they required the subcontractor to provide a
copy of the meeting minutes to the general contractor (item 46). Also, three of these agreements
required the subcontractor to conduct new hire safety training (item 47) (Figure 4-28).
Scheduled safety meetings are not specifically required by OSHA. As such, this was an
increased safety measure enforceable and effectively made a law through the subcontract
agreement. Safety meetings are an effective means of communicating information about hazards
or safety rules that may have become applicable to the project. A provision that required the
subcontractor to conduct weekly safety meetings stated:
The Subcontractor shall schedule a weekly safety meeting onsite for his personnel.
The subcontract continues:
Minutes shall be kept and attendance shall be taken. Copies of each shall be provided to
(Contractor) for inclusion in (Contractor's) site safety records manual.
By requiring the subcontractor to furnish proof of the meeting, the general contractor ensured
that the safety meetings were conducted. The proof of the meetings to be included in the
contractor's records manual served to decrease the contractor's liability since the subcontractor
has purportedly reported necessary safety information to its workers. Furthermore, should the
subcontractor have neglected necessary safety information, the general contractor is able to bring
it to the subcontractors attention for remediation.
Four of the contracts that contained provisions similar to those above also contained
provisions on conducting new hire training. A typical provision stated:
(Subcontractor shall) immediately instruct new employees of safety requirements and
hazards before allowing them to work.
Inclusion of such a provision does not require any more stringent demand than those placed on
the employer by OSHA part 29 CFR 1926.21 Safety training and education:
(a) General requirements. The Secretary shall, pursuant to section 107(f) of the
Act, establish and supervise programs for the education and training of
employers and employees in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of
unsafe conditions in employment covered by the act.
(b) Employer responsibility.
(1) The employer should avail himself of the safety and health training
programs the Secretary provides.
(2) The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance
of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment
to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
(3) Employees required to handle or use poisons, caustics, and other harmful
substances shall be instructed regarding the safe handling and use, and be
made aware of the potential hazards, personal hygiene, and personal
protective measures required.
(4) In job site areas where harmful plants or animals are present, employees
who may be exposed shall be instructed regarding the potential hazards, and
how to avoid injury, and the first aid procedures to be used in the event of
(5) Employees required to handle or use flammable liquids, gases, or toxic
materials shall be instructed in the safe handling and use of these materials
and made aware of the specific requirements contained in Subparts D, F,
and other applicable subparts of this part.
(6)(i) All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be
instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions
to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required.
The employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work
in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.
(ii) For purposes of paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section, "confined or enclosed
space" means any space having a limited means of egress, which is subj ect
to the accumulation of toxic or flammable contaminants or has an oxygen
deficient atmosphere. Confined or enclosed spaces include, but are not
limited to, storage tanks, process vessels, bins, boilers, ventilation or exhaust
ducts, sewers, underground utility vaults, tunnels, pipelines, and open top
spaces more than 4 feet in depth such as pits, tubs, vaults, and vessels.
As found in this part, OSHA also requires specific hazard training determined by the hazards to
which the employee will be exposed. This can include training for the proper use of fall
protection or the handling of hazardous materials.
Conducted by General Contractor
Seven of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to attend the
contractor's weekly subcontractor safety meetings and one required the subcontractor to attend
monthly safety meetings (items 48a, 48b). Of these, two required the subcontractor to participate
in a safety committee (item 49). Five of the subcontracts requiring the subcontractors presence
at the general contractors safety meeting, also required the subcontractor to conduct their own
safety meeting and provide minutes (Figure 4-29). Again, safety meetings are not mandated by
the OSHA Standards. Regularly scheduled safety meetings are a safety measure that exceed the
OSHA requirements and are an effective means of educating employees on safer work practices.
A typical provision stated:
Each employee shall attend the weekly jobsite safety meeting. This meeting shall be
administered by the designated person under the full supervision of the proj ect
This subcontract agreement was also the only one that contained a provision relating to a safety
committee. This provision stated:
Subcontractors shall participate in the Jobsite Safety Committee, by assigning a designated
person. The safety committee shall be created under the supervision of the project
Requiring the subcontractor to participate in the general contractor's safety meeting
demonstrates the importance that the general contractor places on safety. However, the meeting
may have a more profound impact if the upper management were to attend and not only the
superintendent. Top management involvement in safety results in safer work performance.
Also, involving all of the subcontractors in the safety committee allows contributions from all
trades on the job site to have input in the variety of safety matters that may need to be addressed.
Requiring involvement in a safety committee demonstrates a commitment to safety and a
dedicated team effort for producing a safe and healthful work environment.
Section 7- Detailed Safety Requirements
This section discusses provisions that delineate specific safety requirements. These
provisions directly address worker safety. There were multiple provisions related to personal
protective equipment, barricading, and hoisting which were compared. Safety provisions related
to lighting, electric grounding, underground utilities, fall protection, safety kits, equipment
operation, jobsite distractions, and fire safety were also analyzed.
Personal Protective Equipment
Eight of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions with the general personal
protective equipment requirement and/or proper dress for construction work (item 50). Eleven of
the agreements specifically required hard hats (item 51), two required hard sole or steel toed
shoes (item 52), and one mandated the use of safety glasses (item 53) (Figure 4-30). Two typical
safety provisions requiring the use of personal protective equipment were as follows:
Hard hats and safety glasses are mandatory.
Subcontractor shall see to it that their j obsite personnel are properly dressed (hard hats,
hard shoes, shirts, pants, etc.) and that they are provided with all necessary safety wear and
equipment, and tools necessary to safely perform the tasks assigned to them.
The provisions found in the subcontract agreements relating to personal protective equipment do
not go above and beyond what is already required by the OSHA Standards. OSHA's general
safety provision under Subpart C relating to personal protective equipment is as follows:
The employer is responsible for requiring the wearing of appropriate personal protective
equipment in all operations where there is an exposure to hazardous conditions or where
this part indicates the need for using such equipment to reduce the hazards to the
Regulations governing the use, selection, and maintenance of personal protective and
lifesaving equipment are described under Subpart E of this part.
OSHA also has standards relating to the use of personal protective equipment on construction
sites and hazards that may be encountered:
(a) "Application." Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes,
face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields
and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition
wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical
hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of
causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption,
inhalation or physical contact.
(b) "Employee-owned equipment." Where employees provide their own protective
equipment, the employer shall be responsible to assure its adequacy, including proper
maintenance, and sanitation of such equipment.
(c) "Design." All personal protective equipment shall be of safe design and construction
for the work to be performed.
The specific requirements for head protection are found in 29 CFR 1926. 100:
(a) Employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from
impact, or from falling or flying obj ects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be
protected by protective helmets.
(b) Helmets for the protection of employees against impact and penetration of falling and
flying obj ects shall meet the specifications contained in American National Standards
Institute, Z89. 1-1969, Safety Requirements for Industrial Head Protection.
(c) Helmets for the head protection of employees exposed to high voltage electrical shock
and burns shall meet the specifications contained in American National Standards Institute,
The specific requirements for footwear are found in 29 CFR 1926.96:
Safety-toe footwear for employees shall meet the requirements and specifications in
American National Standard for Men's Safety-Toe Footwear, Z41.1-1967.
The specific requirements for eye protection are found in 29 CFR 1926. 102:
(a) (1) Employees shall be provided with eye and face protection equipment when
machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical, or
(2) Eye and face protection equipment required by this Part shall meet the
requirements specified in American National Standards Institute, Z87.1-1968, Practice for
Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection.
There are many additional requirements for eye protection depending on the hazard to which the
worker will be exposed. There are also stipulations for workers who require corrective lenses.
Effectively Barricading for Safety
Seven of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to maintain traffic
control for its own operation, in some cases specifically mentioning the use of flagmen,
barricades, and closure permits (item 54). Four agreements required the subcontractor to post
danger signs and warnings against hazards (item 55) and eight required the maintenance of
barricades and other safeguards (item 56) (Figure 4-31).
The inclusion of these provisions reinforced OSHA' s 29 CFR 1926 Subpart G- Signs,
Signals, and Barricades. The standards relating to traffic control in part 29 CFR 1926.200(g)(2)
All traffic control signs or devices used for protection of construction workers shall
conform to Part VI of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (AMUTCD"), 1988
Edition, Revision 3, September 3, 1993, FHWA-SA-94-027 or Part VI of the Manual on
Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Millennium Edition, December 2000, FHWA, which are
incorporated by reference.
29 CFR 1926.201(a) states:
Fla~weet \. Signaling by flaggers and the use of flaggers, including warning garments worn
by flaggers shall conform to Part VI of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices,
(1988 Edition, Revision 3 or the Millennium Edition), which are incorporated by reference
and, 29 CFR 1926.202 states:
Barricades for protection of employees shall conform to Part VI of the Manual on Uniform
Traffic Control Devices (1988 Edition, Revision 3 or Millennium Edition), which are
incorporated by reference in gl926.200(g)(2).
The following provision is typical of the clauses found on traffic control:
(Subcontractor shall provide) nuisance control, and traffic control as necessary. This
includes required coordination with city government departments to comply with all traffic
and building codes. Provide flagmen as necessary.
Even though the provision did not specifically refer to the applicable OSHA standards, it is still
the duty of the subcontractor to be aware of and abide by the existing laws.
Another control measure required in the subcontract agreements was related to the use and
maintenance of barricades and the use of warning signs when and where appropriate. An
example of a provision that included both of these stipulations was as follows: "Properly
barricade all construction areas. Include warning signs as necessary."
Again, OSHA stipulates when and where the use of barricades and warning signs should
be used. Barricades can be used for a variety of safety reasons on construction sites. They can
be used for vehicular traffic control as mentioned above. They can also be used for pedestrian
traffic control to warn against areas with falling debris or to form perimeter barriers such as those
required for floor openings to prevent falls. Each particular safety use for barricades has
minimum distances required for their placement in the OSHA regulations. These regulations also
stipulate the color of signs, the size of the letters, and under what circumstances the different
signs should be used.
OSHA specifies that danger signs are to be predominately red and used only when there is
an immediate hazard. Caution signs are to be yellow and used when the potential for a hazard
exists. Exit signs, when required, are to be white with red letters that are at least six inches tall
and at least three-quarters of an inch thick. Directional signs (other than those for traffic) shall
have a white background.
Hoisting and Material Handling
Four of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions requiring the subcontractor to
meet or exceed safety requirements when hoisting (item 57). Four agreements also required the
subcontractor to safely and efficiently unload materials at the jobsite (item 58) (Figure 4-32). A
typical provision requiring safe performance during hoisting was:
Subcontractor shall provide all hoisting and scaffolding required to complete the Scope of
Work. Subcontractor shall comply with all applicable safety regulations, including the
requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The inclusion of this provision did not place requirements on the subcontractor that exceed those
required by law. OSHA has safety standards that delineate the exact safety precautions that must
be taken during hoisting activities such as:
(a)(1)The employer shall comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations
applicable to the operation of all hoists and elevators. Where manufacturer's specifications
are not available, the limitations assigned to the equipment shall be based on the
determinations of a professional engineer competent in the Hield.
(a)(2)Rated load capacities, recommended operating speeds, and special hazard warnings
or instructions shall be posted on cars and platforms.
Also in this standard, OSHA details the maximum amount of damage that hoisting ropes are
allowed to have and still be used during hoisting operations. Another safety provision that
related to safety when hoisting was:
Subcontractor shall exercise due and proper care when loading, handling, and unloading
materials and/or equipment and shall meet or exceed all safety requirements, including
those of OSHA.
Again, OSHA has specific standards related to the safe handling of materials. Below are two
examples of specific safety requirements when using hoists to move or unload materials.
(b)(1)(ii)No person shall be allowed to ride on material hoists except for the purposes of
inspection and maintenance.
1926.953 (a)Unloading. Prior to unloading steel, poles, cross arms and similar material, the
load shall be thoroughly examined to ascertain if the load has shifted, binders or stakes
have broken or the load is otherwise hazardous to employees.
Seven of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to provide its own task
lighting for the subcontractor's portion of the work (item 59) (Figure 4-33). Typically these
provisions were very basic in their requirements:
Subcontractor shall provide task lighting required for its work.
In some instances the general contractor or another subcontractor provided the power for small
tools and lighting, and the subcontractor was simply obligated for any distribution of that power
that was required. OSHA requires the proper amount of light to safely perform any task. The
general part of the standard states:
General. Construction areas, ramps, runways, corridors, offices, shops, and storage areas
shall be lighted to not less than the minimum illumination intensities listed in Table D-3
while any work is in progress: .
The table that is provided with the standard gives the amount of foot-candles that each type of
environment at a construction site must have. Depending on the task performed or the location,
the minimum illumination on construction sites must be 3 foot candles to 30 foot candles. When
the requirements are not met, additional light must be provided in order to perform the work.
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions that stated the subcontractor
had to provide ground fault interrupters for its own equipment (item 60) (Figure 4-34). A typical
Each Trade Contractor shall be responsible for providing its employees with ground fault
interrupters for extension cords in accordance with OSHA requirements.
A Ground-fault circuit interrupter is defined by OSHA in Standard 29 CFR 1926.449 as, "a
device for the protection of personnel that functions to deenergize a circuit or portion thereof
within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds some predetermined value
that is less than that required to operate the overcurrent protective device of the supply circuit."
Providing ground fault interrupters is already required by OSHA and does not exceed and legal
requirements. Below is the OSHA standard related to ground fault interrupters:
Ground-fault circuit interrupters. All 120-volt, single-phase 15- and 20-ampere receptacle
outlets on construction sites, which are not a part of the permanent wiring of the building
or structure and which are in use by employees, shall have approved ground-fault circuit
interrupters for personnel protection. Receptacles on a two-wire, single-phase portable or
vehicle-mounted generator rated not more than 5kW, where the circuit conductors of the
generator are insulated from the generator frame and all other grounded surfaces, need not
be protected with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
Two of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions requiring the subcontractor to
ascertain the location of underground utilities and be responsible for any damage they may cause
(item 61) (Figure 4-3 5). One provision regarding the location of underground utilities is as
The subcontractor shall be responsible for the location of and/or damage cause by him to
any underground obj ects, including but not limited to sewer, water, gas, electric or
telephone lines, cables, pipes, and tunnel.
This type of provision was simply a way of assigning liability to the subcontractor. It is already
required by the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act in Florida (the jobsite
location for the work covered by the subcontract agreements in this study) to have all
underground utilities marked before construction begins if work activities are likely to unearth
them. They also must remain marked for the duration of the project. Therefore this provision
did not stipulate any safety requirement that is not already required by law.
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements specifically included provisions requiring the
subcontractor to comply with OSHA's fall protection standards (item 62) (Figure 4-36). A
typical provision stated:
Subcontractor will provide all fall protection including fall protection equipment as
required by OSHA, including but not limited to the latest interpretation of regional and
local OSHA offices.
This provision was very specific in mentioning the subcontractor's need to be aware of
interpretations for fall protection standards. OSHA contains a general provision for all
construction work tasks:
This section sets forth requirements for employers to provide fall protection systems. All
fall protection required by this section shall conform to the criteria set forth in 1926.502 of
The employer shall determine if the walking/working surfaces on which its employees are
to work have the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. Employees
shall be allowed to work on those surfaces only when the surfaces have the requisite
strength and structural integrity.
In addition to general fall protection requirements, OSHA has standards pertaining to specific
tasks. Below is an example of a fall protection standard for steel workers:
.. each employee engaged in a steel erection activity who is on a walking/working surface
with an unprotected side or edge more than 15 feet (4.6 m) above a lower level shall be
protected from fall hazards by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest
systems, positioning device systems or fall restraint systems.
Paragraph (a) (3) contains less stringent fall protection standards for connectors and employees
working in controlled decking zones. The subcontractor would need to be knowledgeable of any
fall protection standards that relate to any work they would be conducting on the j obsite.
Four of the 33 subcontract agreements required the subcontractor to provide OSHA
compliant safety kits (item 63) (Figure 4-37). A typical provision stated:
OSHA approved safety kits must be provided completely stocked, accessible and visible to
First aid kits are not actually approved by OSHA as stated in the provision above. First aid kits
can be obtained that comply with the OSHA standards and the minimum requirements found in
ANSI Z3 08.1-1978. This type of provision does not exceed legal requirements. O SHA' s
standard on first aid supplies is as follows:
First aid supplies shall be easily accessible when required.
The contents of the first aid kit shall be placed in a weatherproof container with individual
sealed packages for each type of item, and shall be checked by the employer before being
sent out on each j ob and at least weekly on each j ob to ensure that the expended items are
Appendix A to @ 1926.50 -- First aid Kits (Non-Mandatory)
First aid supplies are required to be easily accessible under paragraph Sec. 1926.50(d)(1).
An example of the minimal contents of a generic first aid kit is described in American
National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1978 "Minimum Requirements for Industrial Unit-Type
First-aid Kits". The contents of the kit listed in the ANSI standard should be adequate for
small work sites. When larger operations or multiple operations are being conducted at the
same location, employers should determine the need for additional first aid kits at the
worksite, additional types of first aid equipment and supplies and additional quantities and
types of supplies and equipment in the first aid kits.
Five of the 33 subcontractor agreements require the subcontractor to provide a competent
operator for equipment operation and to ensure it's in safe operating condition before utilizing it
(item 64) (Figure 4-3 8). A provision related to safe operation of equipment was:
Subcontractor shall make a thorough inspection to Subcontractor's satisfaction as to the
physical condition and capacity of the equipment as well as the competency of the
operator, there being no representations or warranties by Contractor with reference to such
This provision was specifically in reference to the subcontractor's use of the general contractor's
equipment. In all instances, OSHA already requires machinery to be operated by a worker who
is competent and has been trained in and is licensed to operate the equipment. OSHA also
requires all equipment to be inspected prior to each use and any deficiencies repaired before
operation of the equipment.
Two of the 33 subcontract agreements stated that the subcontractor shall not allow the use
of radios or other sound-generating devices (item 65) (Figure 4-39). One such provision stated:
Sound reproducing devices and radios, other than those used for communications at the
site are prohibited.
OSHA has no specific standard on this subj ect; therefore the inclusion of this provision requires
safer practices than those required by law. Prohibiting the use of radios or sound-generating
devices ensures that workers can here the 'sounds of the j obsite.' In other words, they are able to
hear shouts of warnings, equipment and machinery that may be in their area and have an affect
on safety, or even the sounds from structural collapses. Also, the more distractions a worker is
subjected to, the more likely injuries will occur. Including provisions prohibiting distracting
devices on the jobsite should ensure safer work performance.
Three of the 33 subcontract agreements contained provisions requiring the subcontractor to
provide fire extinguishers and/or fire protection (item 66) (Figure 4-40). One provision stated:
The trade contractor is responsible for providing all provisions associated with specific fre
protection requirements associated with the performance of his work.
While this particular provision did not specifically mention providing fire extinguishers, OSHA
has a standard requiring them for fire protection during construction operations. Furthermore,
contractors are also required to develop fire protection programs. These requirements are
outlined in the standards below:
The employer shall be responsible for the development of a fire protection program to be
followed throughout all phases of the construction and demolition work, and he shall
provide for the firefighting equipment as specified in this subpart. As fire hazards occur,
there shall be no delay in providing the necessary equipment.
A fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided for each 3,000 square feet of
the protected building area, or maj or fraction thereof. Travel distance from any point of the
protected area to the nearest fire extinguisher shall not exceed 100 feet.
Section 8 Miscellaneous Safety Provisions
The subcontract agreements that were evaluated for this study contained many
miscellaneous safety provisions that were not discussed in the previous sections. All of these
provisions were found to only occur in one subcontract agreement. The maj ority of these
provisions were task specific, though not necessarily specific to the subcontractor's work.
For example, one of the subcontract agreements included provisions dedicated to safety
* barricades, safety lines, and railings,
* scaffolds, access equipment, platforms and rails,
* cranes, hoists, and lifts,
* ventilation, and heating, and
* noise control.
The general contractor for this subcontract agreement was not in the Engineering New Records
Top 400 Contractors in 2006. While the exact size of this company is unknown, the majority of
its work has been performed in only a few cities in Florida and Georgia. Studies have found that
medium sized construction companies' employees are more prone to incur injuries than those of
small and large sized firms (Hinze 1997). This general contractor's extensive inclusion of safety
provisions is a step in the right direction for providing a safer work environment for its
subcontractors and employees.
An example of a provision relating to barricades, safety lines, and railings was:
Each trade contractor shall provide, erect, maintain, dismantle and remove any and all
barricades, scaffolding, railings, toeboards, ladders, flagging, covers and safety netting
required to complete his work, in accordance with OSHA and all other applicable code
requirements. At no time shall the Trade Contractor remove, alter or render ineffective,
any barricades, railings or cover on the proj ect without written permission of the
Construction Manager. Where these safety devices are to be turned over to others, upon
completion of the Work, the devices shall be repaired, or replaced so that they meet the
required standards prior to turnover.
This provision went beyond what is required by OSHA by requiring the subcontractor to obtain
permission from the general contractor to alter the equipment in any way. By doing this, the
general contractor was able to better maintain the effectiveness of on-site safety equipment. It
also kept the contractor (and thus other subcontractors) aware of when safety devices were
rendered ineffective during the course of the proj ect so that they could take the extra safety
precautions required in that area.
Another provision found in the subcontract agreement related to crane safety was:
The Trade Contractor is responsible for the safety of craning operations. He shall submit a
current Crane Inspection Certificate to the Construction Manager prior to starting hoisting
operations that ensures that the machine is in excellent operating condition together with a
written record of maj or repairs performed on the machine in the last three (3) years.
The Contractor will ensure the proper set up of the machine at every move including
checking the bearing capacity of the ground, leveling the crane to within 1% and
supporting it on adequate cribbing properly banded and bolted together with outriggers
The Contractor will ensure that the Crane Operator has at least three (3) years experience
operating the type and capacity of machine used on this Proj ect. The Crane Operator shall
have received adequate training in Crane Operation and Technology.
The Crane Operator shall be familiar with all applicable local, federal and industrial safety
standards posted load limitations and have the sole decision to refuse to handle a load if, in
his opinion, unsafe conditions exists. At the start of each working day, the Crane Operator
will perform a "sight, sound and operational" test on the machine for a minimum of fifteen
(15) minutes in accordance with an Operational Check List acceptable to the Construction
Manager. The completed Operator's Daily Check List shall be attached to the Contractor's
Daily Report and submitted to the Construction Manager.
This provision included many more safety measures than those discussed under the previous
section related to hoisting. The provision mandated a minimum of fifteen minutes that must be
dedicated to ensuring that the equipment is in proper operating order. It also required the
operator to perform a specific check and fill out the requisite form. Both of these requirements
go above and beyond what OSHA requires stating:
The employer shall designate a competent person who shall inspect all machinery and
equipment prior to each use, and during use, to make sure it is in safe operating condition.
Any deficiencies shall be repaired, or defective parts replaced, before continued use.
1 926. 5 50(g)(3)(i)(D)
The crane shall be uniformly level within one percent of level grade and located on firm
footing. Cranes equipped with outriggers shall have them all fully deployed following
manufacturer's specifications, insofar as applicable, when hoisting employees.
This crane safety provision also required the leveling of the crane to within 1% which is already
required by OSHA. However the required minimum three year operating experience and the
submission of documents related to the crane's maintenance again goes beyond what OSHA
Another subcontract agreement also included additional miscellaneous safety provisions.
These were related to safety meetings, as well as personal protective equipment and the proper
and safe use of equipment. The provision related to safety meetings was:
(Contractor) shall conduct bimonthly safety and quality control meetings at the j ob site.
All employees working on the job site shall attend these meetings.
In this provision, the general contractor mandated that all employees attend, not just the
subcontractors j obsite representative. While increasing the frequency of the meetings would be
more beneficial for the improvement of jobsite safety performance, it is a proactive safety
method that shows the general contractors commitment to safety and ceasing all work activities.
The provision related to the proper use of personal protective equipment and ensuring the
proper working order of equipment was:
Additional Safety Clarifications: (a) Audible-warning devices must be installed on all
forklifts, scissor lifts, man lifts and articulated platforms used on this proj ect work site.
Audible devices must activate on any movement and upon descent of platform. (b) All
safety equipment, such as lights, horn, etc., must be operational at all times. Forklift or
moving equipment operators are required to wear seatbelts. (c) Full body harness with
lanyard is required for personnel within scissor lifts or articulated platforms. The tie-in
point is a dedicated attachment point or as directed by the manufacturer. (d) All
subcontractors shall wear safety vests during the site and structure portion of the job as
well as when heavy machinery is being used inside the building. Vests are to be provided
by each subcontractor.
Only part (d) of this safety provision required safer work practices than those mandated by the
OSHA standards. Requiring all employees to wear safety vests during the more dangerous
portions of construction ensures that they are more visible to machine operators and other
employees who may be conducting overhead work.
Another miscellaneous provision embedded within the Scope of Work section of a
subcontract agreement stated:
All scaffolding will be constructed in accordance with OSHA requirements. This
Subcontractor will hire a scaffolding company to furnish, install, maintain, and
disassemble the scaffolding required to perform his Work, or he may do so with his own
forces provided that those forces can demonstrate their qualifications to perform this work.
At a minimum all levels of scaffolding will be 100% fully cross-braced, fully planked with
handrails (top rail/ mid rail) and toe board. Scaffolding base will have 2" x 12" structural
grade rough sawn wood (or other approved material) with adjustable screw j acks for
leveling the scaffolding. Scaffolding will be braced back to structure or by extensions
through window openings with screw j acks tied into scaffolding. Prior to the start of this
work, a sample scaffold of 3 frames in height will be erected to comply with the standards
stated above for approval by (Contractor) as the standard use on this proj ect.
Again, all parts of this provision are required by OSHA in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L, with the
exception of the last sentence requiring the construction of a sample scaffold. This is an extra
safety precaution that the general contractor would share part of the liability on since it takes on
the responsibility of approving the safety of the scaffolding.
As demonstrated by the examples of miscellaneous safety provisions above, the more
unique provisions will result in improved worker safety performance. Generally these provisions
are task specific, and either restate OSHA standards or require even safer work practices. It is
these provisions in conjunction with their enforcement that will have the most positive impact on
construction worker safety.
Section 9 Historical Comparison
To examine the existence of a possible trend regarding the inclusion of safety provisions in
subcontract agreements, sixteen subcontracts utilized during the period from 1988 to 1990 were
also evaluated. It was recognized that the number of subcontracts that were evaluated provided
insufficient information to provide conclusive trend information, but that reasonable inferences
could be drawn.
The study of the historical subcontract agreements revealed that the indemnity clauses and
the housekeeping provisions occurred most often. One of the historical agreements also
delineated the responsibility for providing temporary utilities and water. Six of the subcontract
agreements required the subcontractor to comply with the prime contract and three required
lower-tiered subs to comply with the provisions of the subcontract document. However in these
instances, this was mentioned only as a general clause and not in direct relation to safety.
The most frequently occurring safety provision in the older subcontract agreements was
one which required the subcontractor to comply with existing safety laws and regulations. Seven
out of the 16 agreements contained this provision, while three others specifically cited OSHA as
a safety standard to comply with and two required compliance with the general contractor's
safety policy. Four of the 16 agreements also stated that the subcontractor was responsible for
safety. In two of these instances, this was only mentioned in regard to providing a "safe and
convenient environment for testing."
Below is a list of safety provisions that were found to occur in only one of the subcontract
*Subcontractor must comply with MSDS requirements.
* Subcontractor shall notify contractor of injuries within three days.
* Subcontractor must abide by hazardous communication program.
* Subcontractor must give written notice of hazardous substances it will bring on site.
* Subcontractor must submit their company's safety program.
* Subcontractor must comply with reasonable safety recommendations of insurance
* Subcontractor will stop work if Contractor deems it unsafe.
* Subcontractor must conduct weekly safety/toolbox meetings.
* Subcontractor must supply copy of safety meeting minutes to Contractor.
* Contractor's failure to enforce a provision is not waiver of that provision.
Two miscellaneous safety provisions were found in the historical subcontract agreements. They
were both contained in the same agreement and were as follows:
The Contractor shall not load or permit any part of the structure to be loaded with a weight
that will endanger its safety.
In any emergency affecting the safety of persons or property, the Contractor shall act, at
his discretion, to prevent threatened damage, injury, or loss. Any additional compensation
or extension of time claimed by the Contractor on account of emergency work shall be
determined as provided in Paragraph 14 for Changes in the Work.
Neither of these provisions is particularly progressive nor do they mandate safer standards than
those required by law.
As shown in Table 4-1 the average number of provisions found in current day subcontract
agreements was approximately 15.5. The minimum number of provisions found in any
subcontract document from 2004-2006 was two and the maximum was 31. The average number
of provisions found in the subcontract agreements dating 1988-1990 was approximately 3.8. The
minimum number of provisions found was zero and the maximum was 12. As demonstrated in
this brief analysis the inclusion of safety provisions has greatly increased over the past fifteen to
includes the provision did not include the
Protection of work clause
Who provides potable water for the
sixteen years. No irrefutable conclusion can be made that the inclusion of safety provisions has
helped create safer work environments in construction. However, the inclusion of safety
provisions can certainly aid in ensuring safer j ob sites by reiterating existing laws and also by
mandating safer work practices.
Protection of work clause includes
protection of "workers."
Subcontractor General Did not specify
Responsibility for providing potable water
Subcontractor General Did not specific
Figure 4-3 Responsibility for providing toilet facilities
Who prov ides e le ctricity for the jobsite ?
E 3 4
Subcontractor General Did not specific
Figure 4-4 Responsibility for providing electricity
Who provides toilet facilities for the
Who provides dumpstersitrash re moval for
Did not specify
Figure 4-5 Responsibility for providing dumpsters/trash removal
Types of indemnity clauses found in the subcontract
agree me nts.
Clauses, 2, 6%
Clause, 5, 15%
and Indemnity for
Clauses, 15, 46%
Figure 4-6 Indemnity clauses
the entire subcontract
the safety clauses within the
Figure 4-7 Sub-subcontractor and supplier compliance with subcontract agreement
General contractor requires the subcontractor to
the entire prime
the safety clauses
within the prime
both the entire
prime contract and
safety clauses of
the prime contract
Figure 4-8 Inclusion of prime contract as part of subcontract
Subcontractor shall require all of its subcontractors
and supplies rs to comply with:
Subcontractor Responsibility for Safety
health and safety at
not permit workers
to work in unsafe
provide safe and
sufficient facilities at
contained both of
Figure 4-9 Subcontractor responsibility for safety
Responsibility for Worker Safety
for health and
safety at all
times and must
stop work if
deems it to be
unsafe., 3, 10%
must stop work
unsafe., 1, 3%
for health and
safety at all
times., 11, 35%
Figure 4-10 Responsibility for worker safety
contains both a
provision and a
provision in the
safety clause., 6,
S ubco ntra cto r
will rem ove all /
tras h and debris
safety., 24, 73%
Figure 4-11 Cleanliness and safety
a 'com petent'
OSHA, 4, 12%
m ust designate
res ponsi ble
party for s afety.,
whose duty is
Figure 4-12 Designating a safety supervisor
Cleanliness and Safety
Designating a Safety Supervisor
Subcontractor shall immediately notify contractor of
hazardous or unsafe conditions.
included the provision did not include the provision
Figure 4-13 Notifying contractor of unsafe work conditions
injuries within 24
injuries within 3
not required to
report injuries to
Figure 4-14a Notifying general contractor of injuries
Injury Notification and
not required to
report injuries to
injuries to the
not required to
must submit a
accident report to
Figure 4-14b Correlation of injury notification and accident reports
Compliance with Applicable laws
Figure 4-15 Compliance with applicable laws
Compliance with Safety Laws and Recommendations
comply with OSHA
comply with reasonable
Figure 4-16 Compliance with safety laws and recommendations
General Contractors Right to Restrict Job Site Access
Contractor can prohibit
people from the site for
safety violations, and/or
drug or alcohol use,
and/or fighting, or
If the Subcontractor
fails to abide by or
enforce safety policies
then Contractor can bar
such party from the job
No provision for the
right to restrict job site
Figure 4-17 General contractors right to restrict job site access
Non-Enforcement is Not a Waiver of Provisions
is not a waiver of
provision is not
waiver of the
contained both a
a general and a
contained in the
Figure 4-18 Non-enforcement is not a waiver of provisions
Contractor may provide safety personnel and services
and backcharge the subcontractor if subcontractor is
unwilling or unable to maintain a safe work site (or
withhold payments until the subcontractor complies.)
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-19 General contractors right to correct safety deficiencies
Figure 4-20 General contractor's right to instruct subcontractor employees
Subcontractor Safety Programs
3 1 1
General Contractor's Right to Instruct
Contractor shall never
give instructions to
employees except in
Contractor shall never
Subcontractor must Subcontractor shall
submit a project supply any
specific safety requested safety
Subcontractor must Subcontractor must
submit their submit their
program and any
s afety i nform ati on
Figure 4-21 Subcontractor safety programs
- -2 2
General Contractor Safety Programs
Su contractor m ust Subcontract
com ply with includes additional
Contractors safety addenda or exhibits
policy. concerning safety.
Subcontractor m ust
com ply with
policy and the
ag ree m ent i ncl udes
Figure 4-22 General contractor safety programs
Drug and Allcohol Policies
and alcohol abuse
enforce a substance
None of the
or be under the
influence of drugs or
legally taken or not.
enforce a substance
program and ensure
that their employees
do not possess,
consume or be
under the influence
Figure 4-23 Drug and alcohol policies
Figure 4-24 Drug free workplace statutes
Hazardous Communication Program
Subcontractor must comply with Drug Free Workplace
Statutes (may include 440.101, 440.102)
included the provision
did not include the provision
abide by Contractors
provide its own
Subcontract did not
subcontractor to abide
by any hazardous
Figure 4-25 Hazardous communication programs
must not dispose
must comply with
disposal laws, 2,
stop work and
inform contractor if
-asbestos or PCB
or other hazardous
/present., 3, 9%
must comply with
toxic materials ,
Hazardous Substance Laws
Figure 4-26 Hazardous substance laws
provisions for the
must give written
substances it will
bring on site., 3,
Hazardous Substances on the Job Site
materials are -
prohibited., 1, 3%
owner., 4, 12%
Figure 4-27 Hazardous substances on the jobsite
3 5 5
Safety Meetings and Training Conducted by the Subcontractor
and supply copy of
safety meeting minutes
supply copy of safety
meeting minutes to
Contractor, and conduct
new hire safety training.
Subcontract contains no
provisions requiring the
Subcontractor to provide
safety training or
conduct safety meetings
Figure 4-28 Safety meetings and training conducted by the subcontractor
must conduct its
own weekly safety
provide minutes to
conduct their own.
meetings or to
conduct their own.
Figure 4-29 Safety meetings
Personal Protective Equipment Provisions
containing 2 PPE
containing no PPE
containing 1 PPE
containing 3 PPE
1. Subcontractor must supply or subcontractor's employees must have all required
PPE and dress appropriately
2. Hard hats are mandatory.
3. Hard sole/steel toe shoes are required.
4. Safety glasses are mandatory.
Figure 4-30 Personal protective equipment provisions
I I I I 1 I I ;1 ~1 '
that did not
Su bco ntracts
1. Subcontractor must maintain traffic control for its own agents and operations:
includes flagmen, barricades, and closure permits.
2. Subcontractor must post danger signs and other warnings against hazards.
3. Subcontractor shall provide and/or maintain all perimeter barricades or
safeguards required for safety and/or keep them in place.
Figure 4-31 Effectively barricading for safety
meet or exceed
including those of
safely and efficiently
provisions on hoisting
or material handling
Figure 4-32 Hoisting and material handling
Effectively Barricading for Safety
Hoisting and Material Handling
Subcontractor must provide their own ground fault
i nte rru pte rs for e le ctri cal e qu ipme nt.
Subcontractor will provide their own task lighting.
included the provision did not include the provision
Figure 4-33 Task lighting
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-34 Providing ground fault interrupters
Subcontractor is responsible for the location of
underground objectsiexisting facilities, including
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-35 Locating underground objects/facilities
Subcontractor will provide all fall protection required
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-36 Fall protection
When using equipment (contractor's, rented, or own),
subcontractor shall ensure it is in safe condition,
takes all responsibilities for safety, and shall provide
a competent operator.
OSHAapproved safety kits must be provided.
included the provision
Figure 4-37 OSHA safety kits
did not include the provision
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-38 Equipment safety
No radios or sound-generating devices not used for
jobsite communication are alloweRd.
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-39 No radios/sound-generating devices
Subcontractor shall provide fire
exti nguishe rs/prote action
included the provision
did not include the provision
Figure 4-40 Provide fire extingui shers/protection
Table 4-1. Descriptive statistical data for the inclusion of safety provisions in subcontract documents
2004-2006 Subcontracts 1988-1990 Subcontracts
Standa rd error
Standa rd deviation
Sa mple variance
The inclusion of safety provisions within subcontract agreements could help lead to safer
work practices on construction sites. While restating existing laws and regulations will only
stress or emphasize safety practices that are already mandatory; stressing compliance with
existing safety laws demonstrates a general contractor's commitment to jobsite safety. The level
of management commitment to safety is very influential for overall jobsite safety and
specifically for subcontractor safety. It is very important that the general contractor place the
same emphasis on safety as say, cost and schedule, because this could lead to safer worker
Nonetheless, due to the lag the construction industry still experiences with regard to
worker safety when compared to other industries, more proactive measures need to be taken to
aid in jobsite safety. As shown in the historical comparison section, it is becoming a more
common practice for general contractors to include safety provisions in their subcontract
agreements. Fifteen years ago, it was hardly widespread for subcontract agreements to contain
safety provisions requiring compliance with existing safety laws. Now, not only do most
subcontract agreements contain such provisions, but some also include proj ect or task specific
safety measures. Continuing to include provisions that require safety measures that go above
and beyond what is required by OSHA or other regulatory agencies is one way to help improve
the construction industry's safety record. Requiring safer work practices than those necessitated
by law is probably the most effective demonstration of a general contractor's commitment to
safety (always assuming that they are regularly and strictly enforced).
Another way that general contractors have included safety in their subcontract agreements
is through the inclusion of additional safety addenda. This included safety policies, drug and
alcohol abuse policies, and material safety data sheet and hazardous communication policies.
Some also included proj ect specific safety manuals or safety measurements specifically related to
the subcontractor's tasks. These addenda would have the same legal effect as those safety
provisions included in the general conditions section of the subcontract agreement; however,
they probably do not stress the importance of safety as much as the safety provisions that are
embedded within the general requirements of the subcontract agreement or in the subcontractor's
scope of work. While the safety policies/programs may be more encompassing in their
prescriptive safety measurements, they give the impression that safety is an afterthought and not
important enough to include in the main body of the contract.
Embedding the safety measures in the subcontract agreements, the general contractor
effectively changes the subcontract agreement from a focus only on price and time, to one that
also focuses on worker safety. The general contractor's role in subcontractor safety is more
significant than that of the subcontractor. As such, the general contractor could make a real
contribution to worksite safety by mandating and enforcing safety policies that require safer
work practices than those of OSHA or other safety regulatory agencies.
Recommendations to the Industry
General contractors have an enormous ability to positively affect job site safety. As such,
general contractors should be more diligent in including safety provisions in their subcontract
agreements and focus on enforcing them. Contractors should not shy away from addressing
safety in their subcontracts from fear of assuming liability. The assumption that liability will be
shifted towards them should not be a deterrent because it is generally accepted among experts
that the more proactive you are, the less likely injuries are to occur, and therefore the less
possibility there is for liability claims.
Recommendations to Researchers
This study was limited to using the generalized improvement of the construction industry's
safety record as a comparison for the effectiveness of safety provisions found in subcontract
agreements, as well as factors that are known to have an effect on worker safety. Further studies
evaluating the inclusion of safety provisions in subcontract agreements in comparison with other
safety related data are needed. More conclusive statements with regard to the effectiveness of
safety provisions could then be made. However, due to the nature of the construction industry
and its variable environment such conclusions would still only be generalizations, albeit more
A study that would give more insight into the effectiveness of the safety provisions is
needed. This would require not only obtaining subcontract agreements, but also the safety
records of the projects on which they were in effect. Also, the general contractor's and
subcontractor's overall safety record could be used for comparison.
It has been shown that factors affecting safety vary depending on the size of the proj ect as
well as the size of the company. Therefore evaluating subcontract provisions in agreements as
well as jobsite safety performance would only be the start of a new study. Classifying the safety
provisions into positive effect factor categories as related to j ob and company size could show
why some proj ects have more success in safety than others. Comparison of the size of the
proj ect and company and the most effective provisions would probably provide the most insight
into worker safety performance. Publishing the enumeration of the most effective safety
provisions and measures that general contractors have used could benefit worker safety in the
Another comparative study that could be conducted is one in which a survey is used to
ascertain the effectiveness and means with which the general contractor enforces the safety
provisions. An analysis of only the written safety documents will only give half the story. The
general contractor's commitment and enforcement of its own policies must also be evaluated.
CODING FORM FOR SUBCONTRACT AGREEMENTS
The subcontract agreements for this study are coded as:
Yes, this provision is included, or
No, this provision is not included.
NOTE: The subcontracts were not evaluated for the inclusion of the provisions as exactly
stated below, but for the inclusion of the underlying safety principle.
Section 1- General Provisions
1. Protection of work clause includes protection of "workers."
2. Contractor provides potable water.
3. Subcontractor provides potable water.
4. Contractor provides toilets.
5. Subcontractor provides toilets.
6. Contractor provides electricity.
7. Subcontractor provides electricity.
8. Contractor provides trash removal/dumpsters.
9. Subcontractor provides trash removal/dumpsters.
Section 2- General Safety Provisions
10. a) Subcontractor will bear costs and hold harmless the Contractor for any violations.
b) Subcontractor will bear costs and hold harmless the Contractor for any safety violations.
c) Subcontractor and Contractor mutually indemnify one another for violations for which
the other is not responsible.
11. Subcontractor will require all of its subcontractors and suppliers to comply with:
a) the entire subcontract agreement.
b) with the safety clauses in the subcontract agreement.
12. Subcontractor must comply with:
a) the contract between the general contractor and the owner.
b) the safety requirements of the contract between the general contractor and the owner.
13. Subcontractor is responsible for health and safety at all times.
14. Subcontractor shall not permit workers to work in unsafe conditions/will provide safe and
sufficient facilities at all times.
15. Subcontractor will stop work if Contractor deems it unsafe.
16. Subcontractor will remove all trash and debris (daily). *No specific mention of safety.
17. Subcontractor must maintain work site in safe and clean condition.
18. a) Subcontractor shall designate a 'competent' person as defined by OSHA.
b) Subcontractor shall designate an employee whose duty is accident prevention.
19. Subcontractor shall immediately notify contractor of hazardous or unsafe conditions.
20. Subcontractor shall notify contractor of injuries:
b) within 24 hours.
c) within 3 days.
21. In the event of an accident, Subcontractor must submit a completed accident report to the
contractor (for insurance purposes or otherwise).
Section 3- Compliance
22. a) Subcontractor must comply with applicable safety laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
b) Subcontractor must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
23. Subcontractor must comply with OSHA Regulations.
24. Subcontractor must comply with reasonable safety recommendations of insurance
Section 4- General Contractor's Rights
25. Contractor can prohibit people from the site for safety violations, and/or drug or alcohol use,
and/or Eighting, or possession of weapons.
26. If the Subcontractor fails to abide by or enforce safety policies then Contractor can bar such
party from the j ob site.
27. a) Contractor not enforcing a safety provision is not a waiver of the provision.
b) Contractor not enforcing a provision is not a waiver of the provision.