CMAA Policy Statement: Safety and the Construction Manager

CMAA believes that worker safety and health, environmental protection, and protection of property and the public during construction operations not only safeguard the workers, environment, and public but contribute concretely to overall project success.  While a construction manager’s specific responsibilities regarding safety change on a project-by-project basis, CMAA believes that the professional CM should take an active role in developing a comprehensive culture of safety.
  • The project owner must insist that all project partners “buy-in” to this culture. The CM Agent’s function is to assist the owner in establishing a baseline safety and health program where all entities are required to meet certain criteria and expectations.  The CMAR develops and enforces the project specific safety and health plan.
  • Where such a culture of safety prevails, responsibility for safety is widely shared and is reflected in specific responsibilities in each project’s safety program. All project participants, for example, have a duty to identify and call attention to unsafe conditions when and if observed. Additionally, the CM as well as all the other project parties must have an understanding of all of the job site safety statutes, regulations, applicable law and contract responsibilities.  Based on this understanding, the CM Agent should counsel the owner in creating contracts and processes so that:
            (a) Responsibility for specific risks is assigned to the party most able to control and mitigate those risks, and
            (b) It is clear that all participants are expected to be vigilant in reporting potential hazards, as well as assuring that their own activities are performed in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, and
            (c) The contract includes baseline and site required environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) requirements and that those monitoring construction on behalf of the owner are protected from undue liability.  
  • The CM Agent must be prepared to advise the owner, contractors, subcontractors and employees of their obligation to have the responsible party correct unsafe conditions when observed. When safety deficiencies are observed, the CM Agent should inform the owner and the contractor performing the work of the condition and the contractor should implement the corrective measures as soon as practicable. 
  • The CM’s role should also include project- or program-wide safety education and training.  
A culture of safety minimizes risk, avoids delay, saves money, reduces insurance fees, and protects the lives and well-being of everyone on the job site. Such a culture is truly a construction industry best practice.
- Approved 10-10-15 -
- Technical Corrections 11-16-15 -
DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is not to be used or relied on for any purposes or to establish a standard of care. The information contained in policy does not replace a professional's independent judgment about the appropriate care for a given circumstance.

CMAA Policy Statement: Safety and the Construction Manager (short version)

Like other construction-related risks, safety hazards must be identified and managed in order for a project to succeed. Safety is particularly important because of the potential danger to human lives and health from unsafe conditions and practices. Working safely every day, in every construction function, must be a paramount responsibility of every project participant.
The owner must set the standard by insisting that all participants embrace a true culture of safety, in which responsibility for safety is widely shared and reflected in specific responsibilities outlined in the project safety plans.  The professional construction or program manager should act as the owner’s trusted advisor in defining and maintaining this culture.
A culture of safety is not an ideal or an abstraction. It is an industry best practice that minimizes risk, avoids delay, saves money, and most of all, protects lives and personal well-being.
- Approved 10-10-2015 -
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