Sunday, October 1, 2017

Addressing Safety on the Construction Site

Originally posted 2013-11-01 09:00:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Patrick's HeadshotFor this week’s Construction Law Musings Guest Post, we welcome a new face, Patrick Rafferty.  Patrick (@ThePraff) is a consultant for Brahman Systems and has an interest in construction safety.

First of all, I’d like to say that I am not an attorney. Anything I say in this article should be taken with a grain of salt. All of the information that I have written in this article comes from personal work experience on the worksite.

Each year, construction sites around the nation see hundreds of thousands of injuries related to equipment operation and situations that could be avoidable with the right precautions in place. In 2011 alone, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 4,069 workers killed on a construction site, most of which were avoidable. Though some sort of on-site problems are unavoidable, they can be minimized with simple practices that every construction site should have in place, whether it is the building of a high-rise building or a simple house renovation.

Here are some of the most common issues that lead to injuries on the construction site:

Lack of training

Before anyone steps onto a construction site, they need to have a thorough understanding of not only what they will be doing, but also how to use the equipment involved in the building process. All operators of heavy machinery should have verifiable training on the machine or equipment they will operate. Most equipment dealers offer training as part of their customer service, such as usage manuals, videos and quizzes. Once these are complete, many will offer a certificate of completion at the end of the process. The larger and more complex the machine, the more time should be allotted for training.

Getting on and off Equipment

According to the OCHA, getting on and off of heavy machinery was the number one cause of injury to equipment operators in 2011. If you ever talk to a construction worker, more often than not they will have a story about some “freak” accident they encountered while using heavy equipment. And more often than not, these are not “freak” accidents, but rather due to a lack of precaution. There are simple steps that can be put in place to prevent these instances. First of all, check your equipment and make sure it is suitable for the task at hand. Make sure said equipment has been wiped clean of any dirt or residue and ensure that the traction is solid enough. Also, avoid objects while climbing.

Overhead/ Buried Obstructions

Before building anything, be aware of any overhead or buried obstructions. This includes any underground utilities, electrical lines or gas and sewer pipes. A simple phone call to your local utilities service will ensure that you are in the clear, and can prevent thousands of dollars in unexpected damages, and even more importantly, a worksite injury.

Loading and Unloading Equipment

It seems like an issue arises during every part of the construction site, and loading and unloading is no different. Even on level ground, problems can arise that lead to injury. Ensure that there is enough room to maneuver the machine around the loading dock, which often requires a spotter for guidance. Make sure that the machine clears the ramps before turning, and avoid any crowding in the area. Use proper tie-down procedure, and be sure to use safety tie wires to make sure nothing comes out of place.

Knowing Your Limits

For some people, this might seem redundant to even read, but it cannot be stated enough. It is imperative to know your limits, as well as the limits of others around you. If you are ever asked to do something out of your capabilities, tell your supervisor or someone you work with. You should never feel pressured to perform a task outside of your expertise, nor should your supervisor ask in the first place.

Construction injuries are nearly inevitable, and most likely never will be. Though this is the case, we have come a long way in terms of construction site safety. Since 1970, construction related fatalities have been reduced by 65 percent, and with a little bit of hard work and ingenuity, this trend is bound to continue.

As always, Patrick and I welcome your comments below.  Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Fridays at Construction Law Musings.

© Construction Law Musings- Richmond, VA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license.

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Addressing Safety on the Construction Site

Originally posted 2013-11-01 09:00:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Patrick's HeadshotFor this week’s Construction Law Musings Guest Post, we welcome a new face, Patrick Rafferty.  Patrick (@ThePraff) is a consultant for Brahman Systems and has an interest in construction safety.

First of all, I’d like to say that I am not an attorney. Anything I say in this article should be taken with a grain of salt. All of the information that I have written in this article comes from personal work experience on the worksite.

Each year, construction sites around the nation see hundreds of thousands of injuries related to equipment operation and situations that could be avoidable with the right precautions in place. In 2011 alone, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 4,069 workers killed on a construction site, most of which were avoidable. Though some sort of on-site problems are unavoidable, they can be minimized with simple practices that every construction site should have in place, whether it is the building of a high-rise building or a simple house renovation.

Here are some of the most common issues that lead to injuries on the construction site:

Lack of training

Before anyone steps onto a construction site, they need to have a thorough understanding of not only what they will be doing, but also how to use the equipment involved in the building process. All operators of heavy machinery should have verifiable training on the machine or equipment they will operate. Most equipment dealers offer training as part of their customer service, such as usage manuals, videos and quizzes. Once these are complete, many will offer a certificate of completion at the end of the process. The larger and more complex the machine, the more time should be allotted for training.

Getting on and off Equipment

According to the OCHA, getting on and off of heavy machinery was the number one cause of injury to equipment operators in 2011. If you ever talk to a construction worker, more often than not they will have a story about some “freak” accident they encountered while using heavy equipment. And more often than not, these are not “freak” accidents, but rather due to a lack of precaution. There are simple steps that can be put in place to prevent these instances. First of all, check your equipment and make sure it is suitable for the task at hand. Make sure said equipment has been wiped clean of any dirt or residue and ensure that the traction is solid enough. Also, avoid objects while climbing.

Overhead/ Buried Obstructions

Before building anything, be aware of any overhead or buried obstructions. This includes any underground utilities, electrical lines or gas and sewer pipes. A simple phone call to your local utilities service will ensure that you are in the clear, and can prevent thousands of dollars in unexpected damages, and even more importantly, a worksite injury.

Loading and Unloading Equipment

It seems like an issue arises during every part of the construction site, and loading and unloading is no different. Even on level ground, problems can arise that lead to injury. Ensure that there is enough room to maneuver the machine around the loading dock, which often requires a spotter for guidance. Make sure that the machine clears the ramps before turning, and avoid any crowding in the area. Use proper tie-down procedure, and be sure to use safety tie wires to make sure nothing comes out of place.

Knowing Your Limits

For some people, this might seem redundant to even read, but it cannot be stated enough. It is imperative to know your limits, as well as the limits of others around you. If you are ever asked to do something out of your capabilities, tell your supervisor or someone you work with. You should never feel pressured to perform a task outside of your expertise, nor should your supervisor ask in the first place.

Construction injuries are nearly inevitable, and most likely never will be. Though this is the case, we have come a long way in terms of construction site safety. Since 1970, construction related fatalities have been reduced by 65 percent, and with a little bit of hard work and ingenuity, this trend is bound to continue.

As always, Patrick and I welcome your comments below.  Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Fridays at Construction Law Musings.

© Construction Law Musings- Richmond, VA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Contractors and Force Majeure: Contractual Protection from Hurricanes and Severe Weather

This week’s Guest Post Friday here at Musings welcomes back Clay Olsen.  Clay is is an attorney at Harper Whitwell PLLC.  The firm is located in Mississippi and South Carolina where they routinely represent the interests of construction.

This season is not special as hurricanes are a part of life on the east coast and gulf shores. From New York to Louisiana, just about every state has seen massive property loss from hurricanes during the past ten years.

We often see harsh outcomes for those on the coast living in finished homes. What happens to the unfinished and current projects awaiting completion? If you’re building on the coast, take a look at all of the following risk aversion mechanisms:

  1. Builders Risk Insurance is necessary as is Coverage for named storms. Be sure to review the “excluded perils” or speak to your agent as hurricane coverage best not be omitted.

Once you begin reviewing your current policy or engaging your agent, be sure to check for determination as to the extent of coverage for named storms. Your coverage should be reviewed for property and materials coverage, delay costs, and other particulars.

  1. Force Majeure clauses are certainly familiar to you if you’re reading this. In your contract, there is no reason to rely on a generic definition. Include language which states hurricane, named storm, tropical storm etc within the force Majeure clause while making sure to include language “including but not limited to: hurricanes, severe tropical weather…”. Should you be forced to duke it out with the customer in a residential or commercial setting, you shall be well ahead of the game and might avoid a dispute over damages for delay or other contractual non-performance.
  2. Force Majeure Contingency allocation. Since funds are typically withheld or placed on deposit for contingent events, you might well consider placing specific language entitling you to change order rights and other monetary backing to finish your job in a quality and timely manner.
  3. Payment for Storage and Protection is a key consideration during a high impact storm. This should be included in your contract because the owner will deserve to have high cost materials shielded from the elements. Your contract should include a payment contingency for this as well as an accurate calculator.
  4. Speak to your lawyer. If you have questions about this or other contractual issues, call your attorney and have a consultation.

Clay and I welcome your comments below.  Also, please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Friday Musings.

© Construction Law Musings- Richmond, VA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license.

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