Steps to Establishing a Safety Committee for CT Contractors

May 28, 2024

Safety is essential in the fast-paced, competitive construction industry. The Connecticut Department of Labor consistently ranks construction among the most dangerous industries, where workers risk falls, electrocutions, and other workplace accidents. Such accidents and injuries can be devastating to both the employee and the business.

Proactive safety is essential to protect employees and keep your business running smoothly. At Brooks, Todd & McNeil, we understand these challenges and want to help CT contractors succeed in this challenging environment. This article will help you create a safety committee that reduces risks and promotes safety in your company. We will also discuss how business insurance in CT supports your safety efforts and gives you peace of mind. Together, we can make your business safer.

Establishing a Safety Committee: An Overview

Establishing a safety committee is a legal requirement and a proactive step toward a safer and healthier workplace. Connecticut statutes require companies with 25 or more employees to form a safety and health committee. This law also applies to employers with 24 or fewer workers whose work-related injury and illness rate exceeds the average. Workplace safety and health committees allow employers and employees to collaborate to improve safety at each worksite. 

A safety committee is more than a legal formality; it is crucial to promoting workplace safety in your company. This committee assesses risks, creates safety protocols, and monitors compliance. Establishing a safety culture can significantly reduce accidents and injuries, making your workplace safer and more productive.

Safety Committees’ Financial Benefits

Safety committees have financial benefits beyond a safer and healthier workplace. By reducing workplace accidents and injuries, these committees can lower the company’s workers’ compensation experience modification rate. This reduction can lower WC insurance premiums significantly. A lower rate of workplace accidents can also boost WC insurance dividends. Thus, a safety committee improves employee well-being and company finances. Workplace safety investments pay off in this win-win situation. 

In Connecticut, the state’s Construction Contractor Prequalification Program requires all contractors to prequalify before bidding on a state contract estimated to cost more than $1,000,000. The contractor’s workers’ compensation experience modification rate is a critical factor in this prequalification process. Contractors with an experience modification under 1.00 are seen as having a good safety record and are, therefore, eligible for state contracts. Contractors with an experience mod of 1.00 or higher may be precluded from bidding on state jobs. This requirement underscores the state’s commitment to safety and its desire to work with contractors who share this commitment.

Business Insurance: Your Partner in Safety

Implementing comprehensive contractors insurance is about financial protection and promoting safe work practices. Many insurers provide loss-prevention programs to help policyholders identify and manage risks, contributing to a safer work environment. Let’s explore this concept.

Why the Need for a Safety Committee?

Beyond legal requirements, there are other compelling reasons to form a safety committee in your CT contracting business:

  • Industry risks: Statistics show significant Connecticut workplace accidents and injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34 fatal work injuries occurred in Connecticut in 2022, up from 23 in 2021. The private construction sector contributed significantly to these fatalities. A safety committee can help reduce these occurrences. 
  • Legal requirements and regulations: Connecticut follows OSHA workplace safety standards. A safety committee can ensure your company follows these rules. 
  • Proactive safety measures: These measures ensure more than legal compliance. They reduce workplace accidents, lower workers’ compensation costs, improve employee morale, and create a more positive company image.

Planning, Preparation & Formation

Planning is essential for starting a successful safety committee. The main steps are:

  1. Have senior management, preferably the President, CEO, COO or CFO, sit in on the meetings. This sets the tone that Safety is important from the top down.
  2. Have the department head/manager of the injured employee give a loss report to the Safety meeting team of what happened, why it happened, and what is recommended to prevent it from happening in the future.
  3. Specify the committee’s objectives. Inspecting, training, and creating safe work procedures are examples
  4. Assign committee members’ roles and responsibilities to ensure broad participation, including a meeting chairperson, a safety officer who inspects, and a work crew representative.
  5. Safety protocols, hazard identification, and OSHA regulations should include regularly teaching committee members as part of your training protocols. This training gives them the skills to do their jobs safely
  6. Schedule committee meetings to ensure open communication between members, management, and employees. This step actively promotes collaboration and prompts safety discussions
  7. Regularly assess workplace hazards with thorough risk assessments. Get in front of accidents before they happen. Taking this proactive approach allows for mitigation strategies
  8. Inspect job sites regularly to ensure safety and identify new hazards. Regular safety audits can assess your safety program’s effectiveness.

Beyond General Liability and Workers’ Compensation

Comprehensive contractors insurance will cover more than general liability and workers’ compensation, including some or all of these coverages as needed:  

  • Commercial auto insurance: Covers damage to company vehicles and liability for accidents.
  • Builders’ risk insurance: Covers materials, tools, and the structure during construction, protecting your investment from fire, theft, vandalism, and weather.
  • Inland marine insurance: Covers the transportation and off-site storage of tools and equipment. Moving valuable equipment is common in construction. You can relax knowing your inland marine insurance covers your tools during transport or when not in use on a job site.
  • Installation Floater coverage: To cover materials and items on jobsites waiting to be installed into a building.
  • Contractor’s Tool Floater: To cover tools secured in vehicles, sheds, or otherwise on the jobsite.
  • Pollution liability insurance: Shields your company from financial responsibility for operations-related environmental damage. Construction spills and leaks can happen. Pollution liability insurance covers cleanup, remediation, and regulatory fines.
  • Extra/Umbrella liability insurance: General liability insurance protects your business from third-party property and bodily injury lawsuits. However, these policies cover only so much. If a lawsuit exceeds your primary auto liability, general liability or Employer’s liability policy, excess/umbrella insurance protects you beyond your primary liability policies.
  • Professional liability or E&O insurance: Protects your business from negligence claims resulting from professional mistakes. Design, engineering and construction mistakes can happen even among the best contractors. E&O insurance pays for the costs of defending against negligence claims.   

Safety First

In conclusion, establishing a safety committee is a fundamental step for Connecticut contractors aiming to safeguard their operations and employees. Remember, an influential safety committee helps manage and reduce risks and supports your business insurance strategy by potentially lowering premiums and reducing claims.

Our experienced agents will help you create a risk-management plan and find the right business insurance to fit your unique needs. To find out more, Contact Brooks, Todd & McNeil or call (800) 448-4567 today. 

About Brooks, Todd & McNeil

Since 1839, the independent agents at Brooks, Todd & McNeil have been pleased to offer our community the best and most affordable policies from a variety of providers. Our dedicated facilitators are ready to put their 75 years of combined experience to work on your claims. To learn more about our products and services, contact us today at (800) 448-4567.