Harris County Adopts New Construction Worker Safety Policy

Style Magazine Newswire | 1/11/2023, 12:14 p.m.
Today, a new policy introduced by Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee to improve the safety of workers on Harris …
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee

Today, a new policy introduced by Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee to improve the safety of workers on Harris County construction projects was unanimously adopted by Commissioners Court.

Thousands of working people are killed on the job every year, and millions more suffer serious injury or illness. This takes an enormous emotional and physical toll on workers, their families, and their communities. This also costs employers billions of dollars in wage and productivity losses as well as medical and administrative expenses. The Harris County Contractor Safety Record Policy will improve the quality of Harris County construction projects while also enhancing the safety of workers.

“With this policy, Harris County is championing a culture of safety on its construction projects,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “No family should have to worry whether one of their loved ones will make it home from work. This 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.”

The policy requires that for most county construction projects, employees and managers doing or overseeing manual work have OSHA safety training for hazard identification, avoidance, control, and prevention. Moreover, the companies, not the employees, are to pay for that training. The policy also temporarily prohibits from bidding on county construction contracts companies that have been convicted of a crime after a worker death or serious injury, companies that find themselves on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list, and companies that have been penalized by OSHA for the most egregious instances of disregard of worker safety.

Commissioners Court first considered exploring this policy in 2019 when Commissioner Ellis received unanimous support to have a group look into worker protections.

“Harris County is prioritizing the health and safety of its workers and ensuring our tax dollars support safe and fair labor practices. We have a responsibility to help strengthen and protect our workforce. That’s what this policy does,” said Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis