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Impact of New Safety Guidelines Advanced by Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)

by Conor Meyers, ESQ, Principal with Axis Construction Consulting, Inc.

AGC issued a new set of safety guidelines. AGC is an organization with chapters in each state and is a leading association for the construction industry.

AGC issued these safety measures in response to the growing number of new and inexperienced workers entering the construction workforce. Since this influx there has been an increase in construction site injuries and fatalities nationwide. These guidelines are currently recommended for the commercial construction industry.

The safety program consists of 13 steps. Here is a brief overview of it.

New Hires

  1. Establish a buddy system. Assign new workers to experienced worker to act as a safety sponsor.
  2. Hold safety orientation training for all new hires; even temporary workers. Require all new hires to complete a safety orientation session that is separate from the general administrative orientation.

Ongoing Training

  1. Managers and supervisors should have the appropriate leadership and communication skills to instill a culture of safety. Managers and supervisors should receive training in leadership and communication skills as part of their own training.
  2. Have two separate Pre-Task Hazard Analysis training programs; one for the crew and one for the 1st line supervisor.
  3. Hold monthly lunch and learn safety meetings. Have the presenter be a peer, not a supervisor.
  4. Require all foremen and superintendents to attend a Leadership in Safety Excellence course. Provide supervisors with the skills to effectively communicate the company's safety mission.
  5. Address all safety incidents by holding safety-training sessions specifically focused on the incident.
  6. All training material must be in the languages of the entire workforce.
  7. Train your company trainers. Any personnel responsible for training others must receive ongoing training.

Operating Procedures

  1. Develop worker task specific "pocket safety guides" for each assigned task.
  2. Establish craft specific safety monthly mentoring programs. Workers of varying tenure help each other understand and discuss safety related procedures.
  3. Issue easy-to-read badges to all workers indicating their level of safety training.
  4. Authorize any worker to issue a Stop Work Card if they see a safety related issue.

Why is it important for all of us to recognize the significance of these newly issued guidelines? AGC as an industry leader carries a lot of weight. Its recommendations should be taken seriously. In the context of litigation, attorneys, claims personnel and experts/consultants will and should utilize these guidelines in order to establish a lack of safety protocol or that a company complied with all the recommendations in trying to provide a safe working environment.

Currently the guidelines apply to the commercial construction industry. However, it is likely that these guidelines will begin to surface in non-commercial construction. It is also likely that the guidelines will begin to show-up in expert files supporting opinions related to a construction site injury.

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