Who is responsible for construction site safety?

There are many injuries that may occur on Tennessee construction sites, but safety protocols and protective equipment may lower the risk of accidents. However, it is often confusing to know who is in charge of managing construction site safety, especially when there are contractors or subcontractors involved. 

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides oversight and creates regulations for safe working practices. This means that OSHA provides detailed information on safety regulations for the construction industry. Along with providing details about how to reduce the number of occupational injuries and fatalities in the construction industry, OSHA also offers guidance about safety obligations and liability for job-related injuries. 

OSHA states that if you are the primary contractor on a construction site, you may maintain responsibility for safety even if there are subcontractors on the site as well. Regulations state that the prime contractor maintains overall responsibility in ensuring everyone on the site complies with safety regulations. If you are the prime contractor, however, you may work with your subcontractors to agree on practical responsibilities for certain safety obligations. For example, you may agree to provide all personal protective equipment but require a subcontractor to bring first aid supplies. This sort of agreement may relieve you of the task of purchasing first aid supplies, but it does not eliminate your overall legal responsibility for the safety of the construction site. 

Subcontractors may have legal responsibilities as well. OSHA regulations state that both the contractor and the subcontractor have joint responsibility for compliance with regulations that apply to subcontracted work. 

This information on construction site safety is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice. 

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