We were reading a recent article on jdsupra.com by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP (“OSHA and Workplace Violence: What Contractors Need to Know”) which shares that OSHA has an entire set of regulations for contractors. As the construction industry has the highest fatal injury rate of any American industry, these regulations are part of contractors efforts lessen job site hazards, including falling, electrocution, and chemical exposure.
However, as we read in the article, workplace violence is a also a significant factor in the industry. Workplace violence could be any violent act against any individual — yet OSHA does not have a single standard in these cases. How can a proactive contractor respond?
In fact, the article does reveal OSHA has a ‘General Duty Clause’ whereby employers must take a ‘feasible means’ action preventing known threats of violence to create a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or harm. Unlike other industries, contractors could violate a General Duty Clause by failing to recognize dangerous individuals or situations which in other industries may be obvious.
That said, the article warns contractors could be liable if an employee brought suit if an obvious and known threat was ignored.
OSHA does offer voluntary preventative guidelines which include: implement anti-violence programs with authorized individuals; identify potentially violent incidents; create and control risks; and training employees to recognize situations.
The article concludes that by building general awareness (even in employee hiring processes), tailoring preventative measures, and evaluating outcomes daily will help build a culture of workplace safety.
In addition to establishing and maintaining internal practices for contractors and industry safety is to provide platforms for employees to communicate concern when unsafe or violent behavior is noticed. One such platform is a hotline, a proven tool that offers preventative measures. Red Flag Reporting’s mission is to provide not only a safety hotline, but an effective ethics hotline, fraud hotline and whistleblower hotline. Red Flag Reporting helps protect an organization’s employees, goodwill, and bottom line.