Attorney Leonard Jernigan recently wrote a great post on the need to consider worker safety in awarding government contracts. Leonard discussed a government contract awarded to a construction company in his community with dozens of safety violations.
This issue is very important to North Alabama. The Federal government has many projects around the Huntsville area. Also, our entire area has seen rapid growth. That means more projects to build roads, schools, and other buildings. Keeping workers safe should be an essential part of this work.
I agree that our government contracting agencies should consider the safety history of companies when awarding project contracts. I would also add a second point. Government contracting agencies should also require a real safety plan from the contractor. Why do I use the phrase “real safety plan?” Because far too often, a written safety plan is just a formality for the contractor. Instead of real safety, the contractor simply submits a form that does not address real issues on a specific project. Several years ago, I represented a worker who suffered disabling injuries in a fall on a government project. That contractor’s form safety plan did not even address the equipment the worker was being required to use when he fell. In my case, the accident could have easily been prevented with a real safety plan that addressed the specific site. If we want to make safety a real priority, we will:
- Consider Contractor Safety History When Awarding Government Contracts; and,
- Require A Real Safety Plan That Addresses Site Activities.
These safety points are simple. When followed, tragic injuries can be prevented.
by Jeff Blackwell