RJ Martin Electric Blog

What Are the Costs of Not Being Safe on Electrical Contracting Job Sites?

At RJ Martin Electric, we place the highest priority on providing employees with a safe and clean work environment. Indeed, it’s hard to overstate the importance of safety in construction projects. What makes it so critical?

  • Unsafe practices lead to job site accidents. Besides the obvious personal toll of any injury, job-related injuries can lead to workers’ compensation (WC) claims, and possibly lawsuits.
  • Time delays. When a worker is injured on a job site, the location of that injury immediately becomes an accident site. Often, it is cordoned off, pending investigations by OSHA and other authorities. This renders that spot inaccessible to workers, which often results in substantial delays. It’s also worth noting that an injured worker who leaves the site is one less worker to keep your project on time.
  • Cost overruns. When you figure in potential costs associated with WC claims, legal fees, higher insurance premiums, delay penalties and more, it’s easy to see that costs associated with any job site injury can add up quickly.

Certainly, accidents impact business operations; but more importantly, they can profoundly impact the lives of injured workers and their loved ones—sometimes permanently. While we take safety very seriously, another contractor's recent accident on a job site provided strong motivation to share this message with our readers.

RJ Martin Electric is currently working as the electrical contractor on a commercial construction project. Another subcontractor on the same project was performing its scope of work on the mezzanine, which sits nearly 20 feet off the ground. Neither the general contractor (GC) nor the subcontractor apparently accounted for the proper amount of fall exposure at that height—or they simply chose not to address it properly by installing guardrail protection for the safety and benefit of workers. Tragically, a worker on the roof made a misstep and fell nearly 20 feet to the ground, sustaining serious injuries in the process.

So, what are the costs associated with this accident? First and foremost, there’s the human cost. This worker could very well have died as a result of the fall. As it is, his road to recovery (or some semblance of it) likely will be long and painful.

Then there are financial costs, and while it’s extremely difficult to acknowledge these in comparison to human pain and suffering, they are very real in construction projects—and they impact projects in tangible ways. That worker invariably will file a WC claim; he or his loved ones may also decide to file a lawsuit. Additionally, the project itself screeched to a halt following the accident pending investigations we cited earlier. That, in turn, caused delays, which put financial strain on the overall project.

Finally, it’s likely in this case – as it is in most construction projects – that the subcontractor, not the GC or end user, bears responsibility for fall protection. This stipulation may be buried in the contract, but it could spell financial disaster for that subcontractor.

A Contractor’s Commitment to Safety is Your Best Defense Against Job Site Accidents

How can GCs and end users protect themselves against the many costs of job site accidents? It starts by hiring a contracting firm that integrates safety into its DNA. That firm should have a full-time safety director on staff; should follow strenuous safety protocols for all jobs; and should communicate regularly with other project subs to coordinate issues and establish who’s responsible for safety elements in all project phases. It’s quite possible that the contractor in the accident we described didn’t have a full-time safety director, and so that firm may not have known about the dangerous roof exposure, or may not have been aware of its liability.

RJ Martin Electric places the highest priority on providing employees with a safe and clean work environment. In fact, you would have a hard time finding an electrical contractor with a more comprehensive safety program. Read more about the components of a thorough safety program in electrical contracting projects in our recent blog.

Whatever your next project may be, when it’s time to select an electrical contractor, make sure the one you choose has a full-time safety director on board, and a comprehensive and fully documented safety program in place. This safety professional, combined with established safety protocols, will help ensure that your electrical contractor stays safe on the job. And that, in turn, will help keep your project on time and on budget.

Contact RJ Martin Electric to learn more.

We hope this blog helps you understand why it’s so critically important to ensure a safe working environment in electrical contracting jobs. If you seek an exceptional electrical contracting firm for your next industrial, health care, commercial, education and retail project, please call Robert J. Martin at 216-662-7100 or email rmartinjr@rjmartinelectric.com.

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