Safer Construction Sites on Harris County Agenda for 2023

The first Harris County Commissioners Court meeting of the year featured a new policy aimed at making construction sites safer for workers. Harris County attorney Christian Menefee said the policy aims to punish construction companies who have a disregard for employee safety.

The new policy requires all employees and managers overseeing Harris County construction sites to undergo OSHA Safety Training, and the company, not the employee, must pay for this training. It also prohibits companies from winning county work projects if the company has a poor track record of employee safety. This includes companies that have been convicted of a crime following the death or injury of a worker, companies that have landed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list, and companies that have faced OSHA fines for egregious disregard for worker safety.

The policy was adopted in response to the area’s above-average rate of construction worker fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 157 construction workers died on the job in Texas in 2021. This is more than two a week. Mr. Menefee said the policy “is about saving lives, increasing quality of life for workers, and ensuring companies that do business with Harris County are taking the necessary steps to protect their workers.”

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