Skip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway AdministrationSearch FHWAFeedback


<< PreviousContentsNext >>

Guide to FHWA Funded Wrap-Up Projects

XII. Safety

To realize the potential benefits of a wrap-up program, the implementation and administration of a comprehensive safety program is required. Therefore, all concerned, especially the owner, must establish firm written guidelines and requirements defining management's goals and lines of responsibility for safety activities. Problems can result from safety recommendations based on vague or non-existent Occupational Safety and Health Act and other applicable standards - if vague, mandatory compliance creates cost claims - if non-existent, resistance to compliance with safety recommendations results in the hazard going unabated. Whenever possible, safety requirements are made a contractual obligation.

  1. Safety Manual

    A safety manual should be developed containing the procedures and requirements necessary for the implementation and administration of the owner's safety program, including the responsibilities of all persons directly responsible for the safety and welfare of employees, protection of the general public and protection of property. Contractor compliance with the requirements of this manual is mandatory by making it a part of the contract documents.

  2. Safety Meetings

    A periodic safety meeting should be held (monthly, bi-monthly) for all contractors' safety superintendents. owner's field management staff, and other interested project personnel involved in safety. These programs would address safety-related subjects of general interest to the audience. Also at these meeting safety awards can be made to any contractors who have achieved the required number of hours worked without a lost time injury. These meetings develop safety consciousness and provide an opportunity for safety and management personnel to discuss mutual safety problems and solutions.

    A meeting should be held with each new prime contractor at the beginning of each project to review with project management the requirements of the owner's safety program as outlined in the safety manual and the wrap-up insurance program coverages with emphasis on safety requirements. Attendance at these meetings should include the prime contractor's project manager and safety superintendent, the owner's field staff manager, representatives of the insurance carrier(s) and the Safety Committee. All parties involved in the program - contractor, owner and insurer - need to be dedicated to the successful completion of the construction project in order to implement and administer a strong safety program throughout the life of the project.

  3. Incentive Programs

    Better compliance with safety requirements is attained by the owner through the use of some kind of an incentive program for the prime contractor. A program with reward and penalty features can provide an incentive for the contractors to be more safety conscious, which will be reflected in a reduced incidence of workers' compensations claims (and claims expense) on contracts under the wrap-up. In order to reap the benefit of this program, the contractor must develop, implement and administer a strong safety program throughout the life of the construction project. The combination of reward/penalty gets the attention of the contractor's management, which is absolutely essential to maintain a safe job when the contractor does not pay for his own insurance and claims costs. The owner will need to establish procedures for monitoring the incentive program to be sure the contractor is reporting all legitimate lost time cases (or whatever the program is based on). This is best done monthly rather than trying to verify the data at the end of the project when many of the people and records involved have been transferred elsewhere.

  4. Coordinated Safety Committee

    The purpose of the Coordinated Safety Committee, as its name implies, is to coordinate the efforts of the owner's safety representatives, discuss safety problems, programs and procedures for all construction projects and recommend appropriate action. Members of the committee may include the owner's construction safety engineer, the loss control analyst and the insurer's loss prevention engineer. Activities of a Coordinated Safety Committee may include:

    1. Regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the status of work in progress
    2. Reviews of safety problems reported or noted during job site inspections
    3. Interviews of safety superintendent applicants and recommendations for approval or disapproval of those applicants
    4. Written reviews of each contractor's safety program prior to award of contract
  5. Safety-Related Wrap-up Items
    1. Dedicated loss prevention staff (owner and insurer) who become very familiar with the insured projects, are experienced in heavy civil construction safety and are accessible at almost any time.
    2. Frequent site surveys by loss prevention staff - weekly at a minimum, with on-site review of finds at the time of inspection and including a conference with contractor management and owner's on-site representative.
    3. Inclusion of requirement in contract specifications that prime contractor employ a full-time on site safety representative with construction safety experience.
    4. Owner should have a safety manual outlining responsibilities and procedures expected of contractors working on his projects, and this manual should be a part of the contract documents. Site-specific safety programs and the enforcement of them are the contractors' responsibility but will be reviewed by the safety committee.
    5. Owner should develop an incentive program as a means of encouraging the contractor to fully support safety on the project and thereby reduce claims costs.
    6. Have pre-construction surveys made by an outside consultant to document condition of structures adjacent to the project right of way.
    7. Participation of insurer's loss prevention representative in a safety committee to be made up of the safety representatives of the owner, the insurer and the owner's risk management office. The committee will review and evaluate such items as contractors' proposed safety superintendents, job hazard analyses, inspection recommendations, and related activities.
    8. Owner will review contractors'' safety programs prior to award of contracts. Consistent with owner's disciplinary plan; will comply with owner's program if not their own.
    9. On-site training assistance for the contractors' work forces, either in an indoctrination format, in periodic tool box meeting talks by owner's and insurer's safety representatives. Insurer should provide a loss run to the owner on a monthly basis and assist in its analysis of loss trends, etc. Some owners make safety programs available on request for fee (nominal).
    10. Insurer should provide weekly loss reports to the owner broken down by project, injury type, craft, etc.
    11. Participation by insurer's loss prevention representative(s) in periodic meetings held with all contractors' safety superintendents and owner project staff.
    12. Prime contractor should meet with nearest fire department and advise of job location and nature of work in case of an emergency.
    13. Prime contractor's safety representative should make arrangements with a local clinic and nearest hospital for treatment of injured employees, and advise them of any light duty program available to employees.
    14. Owner's safety and risk management representatives and insurers loss prevention and claims representatives for the project should schedule a safety planning meeting with the prime contractor prior to or soon after start of work to go over with the contractor the safety and insurance requirements of the program.
    15. Interview prime contractor's proposed safety superintendent to be sure he/she has necessary experience/training to handle the specific project.
    16. Employ a certified First Aid attendant on the project. This will tend to minimize the loss of time due to minor injuries.
    17. Establish an award program an incentive for above-average hours worked with a chargeable lost-time injury.
    18. Establish procedures for the verification of payments for builder's risk claims with respect to owner's and contractors' interests.
    19. Coordinate claim meetings to resolve claim disputes between contractors, owner and insurer.
    20. Establish procedures for reporting third-party liability claims to underwriters.
    21. Establish procedures for verification of incentive program.
    22. Establish procedures for reporting of subcontractors insured under the wrap-up.
  6. Safety Requirements for Contractors

    At a minimum, contractors of all tiers should be required to meet the following minimum requirements. These requirements should be included in all bid and contract documents:

    Each contractor, regardless of tier, must be responsible for ensuring observance of the most stringent provisions of the applicable statutes and regulations of the political subdivision in which the work is being performed and relevant OSHA provisions pertaining to the safe performance of the work. Consequently each contractor must:

    1. Ensure that the methods of performing the work do not involve undue danger to personnel, the public and public and private property. Written notice of any violation of these requirements should be given to the contractor and a copy of each charge should be forwarded immediately to the project engineer.
    2. Be responsible for ensuring that work associated with handling and disposal of contaminated soils and/or water is performed in accordance with provisions of OSHA 1910.120 "Hazardous Waster Site Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER).
    3. Ensure that all members of its work force at each Project site has and wears safety and protective clothing/equipment as required by OSHA and the owner.
    4. Furnish and maintain adequate illumination at the site when, by reason of conditions created by the Contractor in constructing fences, barricades, or otherwise, illumination by artificial means becomes necessary in order to protect persons and property.
    5. Assign a Safety Superintendent who has specialized training and experience in construction safety supervision and is acceptable to the owner's contracting officer. The safety superintendent may be the project foreman or an employee normally on the site of the work with the added duty of supervising the safety of persons on or about the work and property affected thereby. He shall also be responsible for providing first aid at the site and must have a current Red Cross First Aid Certificate. Once employed, the safety superintendent should not be changed without permission of the owner's contracting officer.
    6. Provide fully equipped first ad kits to meet the needs of the anticipated work force at the site.
    7. Submit a plan for a temporary fire protection system for use during the term of the contract. This plan should be submitted to and approved by the project engineer before the contractor begins work on any construction activities. The plan should include provisions for fire protection systems and equipment as required by the OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Constructions, Part 1926, Subpart F - Fire Protection and Prevention.
  7. Safety Awareness Program

    The objective a wrap-up Safety Awareness Program is to reduce the number of workers' compensation claims and costs. Typically, each contract with a value over $500,000 has a fixed line item amount for the Safety Awareness Program contained in the unit price schedule. The incentive value for each contract is established at some percentage (e.g., 1 percent) of the project engineer's estimated cost of the project. Consequently, this amount will vary from contract to contract but will not exceed the pre-determined amount set by the owner-say $500,000-regardless of the dollar value of the project. Most SAPs also assign each contract a base Lost Workday Incident Rate, which is developed from the project's cumulative construction lost time experience.

    How an incidence rate is established for each individual contract, is up to the owner. One way to set that rate is to use each contractor's past experience (hours worked and lost time injuries incurred) for the particular type of construction (e.g., rock or earth tunnels, cut-and-cover, escalators, aerial, automatic train control). When the incidence rate is being established, if it is determined that most of the value of the contract is in equipment, with only minimal field work time required, the project probably should not be included in the SAP. Also, no incidence rate should be so low that there is no incentive for the contractor to comply with the program. For example, one wrap-up SAP requires each participating contractor to have at least 40,000 hours of payroll just to break even with one lost time injury at an incidence rate of 5.0.

    When a SAP contractor has reached substantial completion of all contract work at the site, the owner determines if the contractor's workers' compensation incidence rate is below the assigned base incidence rate. For each decimal fraction the incidence rate is reduced below the base rate, up to some predetermined maximum (e.g., two points), the contractor will share in the savings. In some programs, higher than assigned base incidence rates will result in the contractor being charged for the additional costs up to the predetermined maximum, for example, $500.

  8. Return-to-Work Program

    An important component of wrap-up safety is the Return-to-Work Program. Occasionally an employee is injured to the extent that he or she is unable to return to his or her regular job, or has work restrictions prescribed by the treating physician. Modified duty must be provided whenever possible and if a contractor cannot accommodate the injured employee, the contractor should be able to work with the owner and insurer identify appropriate restricted-duty (e.g., limited standing, sitting, squatting, lifting or walking) or light-duty (limited hours and/or duties) work options.

  9. On-Site Medical Trailer

    One of the newer trends in wrap-up safety is the on-site medical trailer. Such services help hold down lost-time incidents and their associated costs. Among the services that can be provided by on-site medical trailer personnel include:

    1. Drug testing
      1. Pre-employment - in-trailer collection and analysis
      2. Just-cause - in-trailer collection/outside lab analysis
      3. Post-accident - in-trailer collection/outside lab analysis
      4. Random - in trailer administration and analysis
    2. Recordkeeping
      1. First report of injury
      2. Accident/incident statistics
      3. OSHA 200 log
      4. OSHA incidence rate for each contractor
      5. Lost workday rate for each contractor
      6. Drug test records
    3. Claim management assistance in cooperation with
      1. Local hospitals
      2. Toxicology (drug test ) laboratory analysis)
      3. Workers' compensation insurer
      4. Construction Manager's on-site safety supervisor
      5. Broker or independent wrap-up administrator
      6. Owner
    4. Return-to-work program management
    5. Occupational safety assistance

    Actual cost depends on several factors, including

    1. The number and duration of on-site work shifts and required medical trailer staff
    2. Whether the medical trailer provider contracts with an outside lab
    3. Whether the Medical Review Officer (MRO), who will provide review/assessment of positive drug tests, is licensed and experienced
  10. Wrap-up Safety Responsibilities
    InsurerSafety SupervisorOwner
    • Serves on the Coordinated Safety Committee
    • Makes regular site surveys, reviews findings with contractors and the Owner's safety representative and makes written reports covering job visits
    • Participates in insurance and safety meetings w/new contractors
    • Reviews and comments on contractors' safety programs prior to award
    • Conducts accident investigations
    • Provides training to contr. personnel
    • Provides contractor w/safety materials
    • Inspects off-site work areas to be covered by wrap-up insurance program
    • Provides weekly statistical analysis of injuries and liability incidents
    • Provides monthly report of field activities accident statistics, etc.
    • Participates in interviews of prime contractors' safety superintendents
    • Advises contractors of imminent danger and potential loss situations
    • Serves on the Coordinated Safety Committee
    • Monitors effectiveness of the Project Safety Program
    • Serve as chairman of bi-monthly safety meetings for safety superintendents and Metro field staff
    • Meet w/contractors and union members re matters of safety
    • Act as liaison between the Owner, federal and municipal authorities on matters of construction, environmental and occupational health and safety
    • Work with Metrorail to develop and coordinate safe work procedures where construction and rail operations interface
    • Assist with all matters of construction, environmental and occupational health and safety
    • Serve as SAFE's representative at insurance and safety meetings w/new prime contractors
    • Provides special assistance to contractors with unusual or complicated safety problems
    • Reviews and comments on contractors' safety program prior to award
    • Assists with writing/reviewing contract specs on matters relating to safety
    • Assists Office of Media Relations in Public Relations work regarding safety and disaster planning
    • Serves on the Coordinated Safety Committee
    • Prepares monthly statistical report of accidents and injuries incurred on the project
    • Prepare monthly report on status of Safety Awareness Program
    • Participates in meetings with prime contractor's safety superintendents
    • Coordinates and directs the efforts of the insurer's loss control program
    • Coordinates and direct the efforts of the Builder's Risk carrier.
    • Participates in insurance and safety meetings with new prime contractors
    • Coordinates pre-construction survey activities
    • Meets with local, sate and/or federal safety officials to keep better informed on safety regulations
    • Reviews and comments on contractor's safety programs prior to award
    • Participates in interview of prime contractor's safety superintendents
    • Audits contractor's payrolls
    • Prepares insurance packages for contractors
<< PreviousContentsNext >>


Jerry Yakowenko
Office of Program Administration
E-mail Jerry

Updated: 04/07/2011

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration