What Does Construction Contractor Mean?
A construction contractor is a firm or individual that provides independent, professional services in the construction industry to third-party employers. These services are typically rendered as part of a per-project contractual agreement with the hiring firm, or through an agreement to provide a specific service for a given duration of time.
The use of construction contractors allows the hiring firm to procure workers that have the skills to safely complete work that hiring firm lacks the expertise or manpower to complete efficiently or safely.
Safeopedia Explains Construction Contractor
Firms classified as construction contractors can include single-person businesses, small firms, and multinational firms in the “engineering, procurement, and construction” (EPC) industry.
As construction work carries a higher incidence of injuries and deaths in proportional to other work sectors, many construction contractor professional associations place significant emphasis on safety in order to improve the safety record of firms.
Benefits and Risks of Using Construction Contractors
The use of construction contractors poses both benefits and risks for safety management in the workplace.
Project owners and operators may reduce their safety risk by hiring competent construction contractors to provide services that cannot be safely provided by in-house employees. However, contracting also means that there will be workers on-site who will be operating outside the direct control of the owner. Employers must ensure due diligence and compliance to secure the safety of all contracted work and they can be held liable for safety incidents that may arise due to contractor activity.
Project owners may transfer significant liability for safety risk to a primary construction contractor (also known as a prime contractor, or constructor) if due diligence into the prospective primary contractor has been conducted. The primary contractor is a legally recognized position that refers to the person holding ultimate responsibility for all work that takes place on a particular construction site.
In some jurisdictions, employers may inadvertently assume the legal responsibilities of the primary contractor by involving themselves in the operation of a work site, even if a construction contractor has signed a contract to fulfill that role.
Employers or primary contractors have a general responsibility for everything that occurs in their workplace. However, as employers are responsible for the safety of those they hire, all subcontractors retain some level of responsibility for the safety of its own workers even after the client has hired their firm. Although both employers and contractors may face fines, charges, and lawsuits due to injury or death stemming from unsafe practices, violations are more likely to target the employer or primary contractor, as they hold direct responsibility for ensuring that all on-site workers comply with applicable safety legislation.