Is Your Contracting Business Ready for a Surprise Inspection?

It happened in New York, and it could happen here in California. Dozens of inspectors went to various construction sites and found tens of thousands of violations. Many of them were related to safe practices and working conditions. Although you’re not likely to encounter an unexpected inspection during the course of your project, there’s good reason to be prepared. Here’s how you can ensure that everything is in order.

What Are Common Construction Violations?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps a list of the most common violations each year. Many of them, like communication about hazards and respiratory protection, apply to a variety of industries. For construction in particular, fall protection, scaffolding and ladders top the list. So besides making sure you’ve always got the right building permits for the project, safety needs to be your first priority when it comes to avoiding violations.

Who Can File a Safety Complaint?
Although contractors in New York were surprised by these unexpected inspections, California contractors need to be prepared at any time. Almost anyone on the jobsite can file a safety complaint to Cal/OSHA. This includes workers and employers. If someone sees a lack of safety procedures or dangerous activities happening at a particular site, they can call Cal/OSHA or email their complaint. The person who files the complaint is kept confidential so that they don’t face retribution.

What Happens if a Worker or Inspector Files a Safety Complaint?
Safety violations happen on occasion. There are a lot of rules to follow and in some cases, workers may not know that what they are doing is incorrect or risky. When someone files a complaint to Cal/OSHA, the department will follow up on the information they receive. If it appears to be accurate, they may issue a citation to the business. In order to clear the citation, businesses must post the citation for three working days or until it is corrected. They also have to submit proof that they fixed it and post that in the work area, as well.

How Can Contracting Businesses Avoid Violations?
In the short-term, there are many things that you can do to avoid having to deal with safety violations. Cal/OSHA publishes a variety of guides for construction businesses to follow. These include:

  • learning safety regulations based on the task
  • providing personal protective equipment to employees
  • posting guidelines in a place that employees can easily access
  • reporting serious workplace injuries or deaths as quickly as possible

When implementing a new program, business owners may want to use a safety checklist for each part of the jobsite. Having a site manager or other person in an overseeing capacity complete the checklist will help to confirm that the safe processes are not just understood, but followed consistently.

What Can Businesses Do to Prevent Unsafe Workspaces?
Ultimately, unsafe construction sites tend to be a combination of lack of information, limited availability of safety equipment and minimal incentive to follow the rules. Businesses may be required to send employees to regular safety training, to teach or reinforce safe procedures. Providing time each year for workers to get a refresh helps to ensure that they remember what to do.

Avoiding injury isn’t just about avoiding fines that may come from serious safety violations. As a contractor, you’ll often be as involved in the daily tasks of a project as any of your employees. Attention to safety can help keep you off of Cal/OSHA’s list, but it also protects you personally.

In construction, California businesses are always on show to prove that they provide a safe workplace. When you know what to do, you can avoid injury and violations that slow down your work. To begin building a safe contracting business, visit CSLS today!

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.