Safety Checklist for Construction Contracts Proposed

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is moving closer to recommending a 20-criteria safety and health checklist for companies bidding on federal construction contracts going forward.

To evaluate applicants, the newest version of the checklist will allow procurement officers to score each of the twenty items on a scale of one (“no compliance”) to five (“full compliance”) points.

Among the criteria are:

• the contractor’s OSHA recordable injury rate,
• whether the contractor has been cited for a willful violation,
• whether the contractor’s foremen and supervisors have completed a 30-hour OSHA course and whether other workers have completed a 10-hour OSHA course,
• whether the contractor will develop a site-specific safety program for the project,
• the safety performance of subcontractors,
• whether the contractor have provided evidence that on past projects workers were encouraged to report hazards, injuries, and near misses without fear or retaliation, and
• whether, in previous projects, the contractor and the subcontractors addressed “the needs of a multilingual workforce,” such as offering toolbox talks in Spanish.

“We want safety and health to be more of a consideration than it is,” said Pete Stafford, chairman of OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, at the committee’s May 24 meeting.

A final version of the checklist could be available by early September. The ACCSH hopes the checklist will eventually find support from the White House and become a presidential directive to federal agencies, some of whom already take into account construction companies’ safety records.

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