Starting June 8th 2018, the Washinton State Department of Labor and Industries has begun using the same WAC codes to cite both the subcontractor and general contractor for a single violation. This means if the Department cites a subcontractor for a violation of any kind, the Department can also cite the general contractor with the same violation using the same WAC code resulting in a parallel violation. The Department has indicated that simply the knowledge of hazardous conditions or practices by their subcontractors can result in a citation for the general contractor.
Two outcomes are likely:
- An increase in general citations as well as repeats and willfuls on the general contractor’s record.
- The increase in citations directly increases the risk of a Severe Violator designation for the general contractor.
As the Department steps up its pressure on general contractors, it is highly recommended for contractors to reexamine their subcontractor agreements. It is recommended that these agreements include clauses that require the subcontractor to notify the general contractor of any Department inspection or citation, and to allow the general contractor to coordinate a response. Since any violation against a subcontractor can result in an equal citation to the general contractor, all citations against the subcontractor should be treated as though both parties have been cited by the Department.
Furthermore, this is an excellent opportunity for general contractors to step up their safety programs to include subcontractors. It is not unreasonable for the general contractor to require or expect an equally excellent and thorough safety program from their subcontractors. It may even be beneficial for the general contractors to take over the safety compliance roles from the subcontractors in order to ensure programs are managed properly and effectively.
For a review of your safety program, or for consultation on subcontractor management, feel free to reach out to The Integrated Group at 425.822.8500.
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