Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Contractors – Do Your Homework Before You Hire

Have you ever hired a contractor only to witness them doing unsafe acts while doing work for the city?  Many of you have probably had these types of experiences, and can think of several examples when this happened to you.  What did you do about it? 

Although it may not happen that often, there are times when OSHA can hold the city responsible for safety violations committed by the contractor.  This can happen when the city hires a contractor, but doesn’t do their homework before they hire.  Whether or not your own employees are put at risk by these unsafe acts or conditions, the city can still be held liable in some situations.

In order to make sure you are hiring quality contractors (and reducing city liability), you should consider having a written contractor safety program.  The program may include some of the following:  
  • Contractor safety records
  • Insurance requirements
  • Indemnification
  • Unsafe Acts
  • Written safety programs and training
  • Supervision
  • Use of equipment

Contractors should be thoroughly screened before hiring.  If you don’t already have one, you may wish to consider using a checklist or form to gather contractor data before signing the contract for the work to be done.  The checklist may look something like the following:

_____   Contract bid specifications include a requirement of workers’ compensation modifier of 1.1 or                      below, OR include language that weighs the contractors’ safety records.

_____   [ENTITY] is named on the contractor’s policy as an “Additional Insured”.  List coverage periods:

_____   The contractor has provided a certificate of insurance to [ENTITY] for both liability and workers’                compensation.  List coverage periods:

_____   Contractor agrees to defend and indemnify [ENTITY], and the employees, officers and agents of                  the entity for any claims filed against the entity arising from the contractor’s actions.

_____  The contractor has provided [ENTITY] with the following written safety programs:

_____  The contractor has provided [ENTITY] with the following safety training records:

_____   The contractor has attended an orientation session for working with [ENTITY].  List date:

 If your city has questions about contractor safety and liability, please be certain to contact your assigned loss control consultant.  They can help answer your questions and provide you with additional resources.

LMCIT Loss Control Staff

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