Real estate investors juggle a lot of tasks when buying and selling their properties. If you are into fix-and-flips or any exit strategy that involves second party workers coming and going from your property, you need to make sure they are being safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body that ensures the quality of safety on job sites.
When you hire a contractor to come onto your property whether it’s to paint or rebuild an entire home, you should make it a priority to confirm they are OSHA-compliant. If not, you could be in for a rough road of possible law suits if someone is hurt on the job.
Here are several tips on how to help you hire an OSHA-compliant contractor:
1 | Safety Program
If contractors are OSHA-compliant they will have a safety program and a safety manual for their employees. It is easy to ask the contractor if such a program has been put in place. If they do, great! If not, you might want to find another contractor or keep accepting bids. There are many resources available for contractors to create a safety and health program for their employees and subcontractors. You might also want to ask if the subcontractors they have coming onto your property have a safety program. The potential consequences for your project could increase overall costs or possible lawsuits for you and the contractor.
Employees should have been trained on proper procedures when it comes to safety, such as whether they need to wear a harness while on a roof or if they are wearing proper face masks for indoor pollution from lead paint, asbestos, etc. On osha.gov they state, “The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers.”
Not only do you want to have a safe environment for the future occupant but also for those who help build or remodel the property.
2 | Job Site Inspections & Job Hazard Inspections
Does the contractor perform job site inspections or job site hazard inspections? This is one-way responsible contractors show they are concerned with the job site and the safety of their employees. It also displays the contractor’s concern to keep costs for them and you down. Accidents on the job site can increase what they charge due to higher worker’s compensation insurance, insurance premiums and even OSHA fines, which can be quite hefty, costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Performing inspections is an effective way for them to find and fix any unsafe working condition which can save you time and money. The fewer incidents on a job site equates to better working conditions and hopefully, lower rates and fees.
3 | OSHA Data & Statistics Search
An excellent way to check on your contractors’ OSHA compliance is through the www.osha.gov/oshstats webpage. Once on the page you can conduct different searches to see if your potential contractor has been fined for non-compliance.
In the box titled “Inspection Data,” click on the first link named “Establishment Search.” This is the easiest way to search for company name. There are several options to choose from including which state the company is in, whether you are checking federal or state violations, office branches, inspection date range and several others. Once you have filled out the appropriate fields, click submit and any violations within the selected date range will appear. If there are none it will simply say, “0 search results.”
On the initial Data & Statistics page, there are other categories as well, such as Severe Injury Reports, Inspection Information, High Penalties, Frequently Cited OSHA Standards, just to scratch the surface.
Take the time to ask your potential contractors and subcontractors if they are compliant with OSHA safety standards. OSHA is here to protect you as well as workers on your job site.