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Issue #4 - May 7 2013


Happy Tuesday! I hope that your week has started off well!

In today's essay guest expert Sydney Smith, OSHA certified in General Industry Safety and Health as well as General Construction, provides invaluable tips and information to help protect your employees and avoid fines from OSHA.

Also in today's issue...

Relying on lien waiver/release forms at face value (even from your long-term, trusted subs) could put you out of business or worse. Don't get burned like this GC did. Find out more in today's Check it Out!

Our Quick Tip today has information to help Spanish-speaking employees to understand work and installation procedures as well as safety, and to as above avoid fines from OSHA.

And our Updated Forms and Laws section has a special invitation.

We hope you enjoy this issue of


"Put your money on safety; it's a blue-chip investment!"
~ Author Unknown

Get Your Safety Plan, Procedures, and Equipment in Place or You May Find Yourself On OSHA's Radar

Falls Are The Leading Cause Of Fatalities In The Construction Industry
By Sydney Smith

[Note from Diane: This article can be important to you even if your employees don't work on scaffolds because if you work near them then you're at risk as well. If the scaffold "operator" screws up then you or your guys on the ground below may wind up hurt or dead.]

Last year, 7,250 fall safety violations* were recorded by OSHA, placing falls at the top of the list for most cited violations of the year.

In fact, this wasn't the first time failure to have appropriate fall protection equipment topped the list, it also happened in 2011.

Construction sites are prone to a number of fall safety infractions, including inadequacies in scaffolding platforms and lack of basic safety standards. Many construction sites are also missing key fall safety equipment, such as harnesses and other fall protection and scaffolding safety equipment.

In addition to lack of the necessary equipment, many construction sites are cited for inadequate or unsafe scaffoldings; it's one of the most frequently violated scaffold regulations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 72% of scaffold-related injuries result from weak platforms giving way, or from workers falling off of them. For this reason, the standard states that scaffold platforms should be fully decked, or planked, and they must be able to support 4 times the maximum load they are intended to hold.

Far too many construction sites are cited for not having the appropriate fall protection equipment or for violating other necessary regulations that are pretty intuitive, such as:

  • Scaffoldings should be constructed on a stable surface and whenever possible, they should be secured to the actual building structure to prevent them from tipping over
  • Employees must wear fall protection equipment when they are more than 6 ft. above the ground
  • Toeboards, screens, or guardrails should be in place to prevent workers from falling
  • Catch platforms, debris nets, or canopy structures should also be installed to protect employees on the ground from falling objects

Improving your training programs, scaffolding design, and work protocols will go a long way toward eliminating fall and scaffolding issues. To further reduce the risk of falling from a scaffold, here are a few practical tips you must remember:

  • Existing scaffolds must be inspected before work begins - any openings or holes should be secured immediately
  • Holes in the ground must be covered and secured as soon as they are discovered
  • Hole covers or planks must be able to support at least twice the weight of people, equipment, and materials they are expected to hold

There are roughly 2.3 million construction workers in the United States alone and often their jobs require them to work on scaffolds or in high places. Help protect their lives, as well as stay off OSHA's radar, by providing them with the proper training and equipment.

About this author: Sydney Smith is a content specialist at Seton - ... She is OSHA certified in General Industry Safety and Health, as well as General Construction. She is an avid blogger who loves to share safety regulation updates, including OSHA and GHS, as well as participate in and promote community events.

* OSHA reference - 7,250 fall safety violations

Please let Sydney know what you think of her article by clicking here. Did you find it helpful? Would you like more information like this?

Check It Out!

When receiving lien waiver/release forms from your contractors and suppliers don't rely on them at face value.

Call the issuing company(ies) and make sure the releases are legitimately from the issuer(s).

Consider the trusted, long-time subcontractor who hits a terribly rough patch in life. Whatever that rough patch might be you, yes YOU, can get burned beyond belief.


  • He submits a legitimate conditional waiver/release from his supplier (and one from himself) to his GC
  • He forges his supplier's endorsement and deposits the check at his bank (which is typical procedure for this company - the contractor deposits [legitimately] endorsed checks to his account and pays his supplier)
  • He submits his own unconditional waiver/release form, as well as a forged unconditional from his supplier, to his GC
  • He splits town
  • No one is the wiser until the supplier starts making calls looking for payment

Think it's far-fetched?

It happened. The GC was a vendor of mine and the supplier happened to be my supplier as well.

Guess who had to pay for the materials a second time? The general contractor. His contract with his customer had a clause that stated that the GC would keep the customer's property free of liens (and you know that the subcontractor's supplier will file a lien if they don't get paid).

If the GC had confirmed the unconditional waiver/release form with his subcontractor's supplier he would have had a much better chance of catching up with the deadbeat sub.

Not that it's the GC's fault that he didn't expect to get scammed by his trusted sub but sadly in today's day and age you have to be ready for it.

Please verify those waiver/release forms!

Attention subcontractors... This applies to you as well! You might have sub-subs who have suppliers or you might be dealing with a dishonest, embezzling employee of your supplier who issues you a forged unconditional.

I'd love to hear what you think about this article. Please click here to let me know. :)

Quick Tip

There are many Hispanic construction workers that don't speak English or that speak broken English.

How do you communicate with them to:

  • A) teach them safety practices and regulations,
  • B) teach them proper installment techniques, and
  • C) teach them the company policies, etc.

Pointing and gesturing doesn't cut it anymore. You need a way to communicate clearly with your Spanish-speaking employees.

That's where Spanish-English Dictionaries for construction come in.

But these aren't your standard desktop dictionaries. Many fit in your back pocket and some are even available as Kindle books.

Did you know that you can read Kindle books on your smart phones and tablets? You don't have to have a Kindle and you don't have to carry something extra around in your pocket such as the paperback-pocket-sized book.

Just whip out your smart phone or tablet, pop open the Kindle book, and get that conversation going with your Spanish-speaking employees that fast!

And some Kindle books get free updates, something you won't get from any paperback.

Click through to read more:

Updated Forms and Laws

This is the section of our newsletter where we'll be announcing updated forms from our website as well as changes to laws. Since I can't be aware of all the states' law changes I would love your help in keeping this section active.

If you know of something that has changed in your state please let me know. I'll include it here and I'll happily credit you and your company for providing me with the info. :)

For now, here's a link to a wonderful online construction forms store: - you'll find forms for every state ...

And then of course we have our own construction business forms store here:

Look Who's Talking!
Send me your comments and see your name in lights! ;)

Aloha Diane . . .

I just signed up for your newsletter and want to thank you for helping all the contractors that need this type of information. I will be sure to tell others about your site!

Very informative and I look forward to reading your upcoming newsletters!

Lillian Watanabe - Reliable Payroll Services, LLC -

What Did You Think?

If you haven't yet, please let us know your thoughts on our main essay by Sydney Smith by posting your comments here.

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