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Construction Contractors: Top 5 Tips for Preventing Legal Trouble

March 10, 2019

Your business can end in a heartbeat, with one sheet of paper mailed to your office: a court summons. Legal issues are long, tedious, and difficult. If they're not done correctly, they can spell worse issues for your company other than litigation.

Avoiding legal issues is also tougher for construction contractors. Since contractors and their employees work in dangerous conditions, more laws regulate their businesses.

Employees must be protected from falling if they're six feet above the ground. Equipment must also be regularly inspected by contractors or experts to ensure it's safe to use. They all keep people safe, but there is a litany of other laws contractors must abide by. Failing to do so can be devastating for your company.

Keep reading below for five easy ways to save your business and avoid legal trouble.

1. Train Your Employees. Thoroughly.

OSHA requires employers to put employees through training before they start their jobs. It's in your interest to train them as thoroughly as possible. If they're operating equipment, employees should be able to tell you everything about it.

Intense training helps you avoid negligence charges if there's ever an accident in the workplace. Training also helps make employees better at their jobs overall, resulting in a more productive workforce for you.

2. Construction Contractors Should Sometimes Be Inspectors.

OSHA also requires you to routinely have equipment inspected and maintained. Keeping a close eye on your equipment works to your benefit, legally and professionally. Especially since Louisiana just requires employers to meet federal standards - there aren't any state-level standards.

Equipment that functions well means more work gets done. Most importantly, it avoids potentially catastrophic work accidents that can result in worse than just legal issues.

You can legally inspect your equipment yourself, if you own the business and are a recognized expert. Hiring inspectors to look at your equipment is beneficial, however. They may pick up on things you can miss.

3. Protect Your Most Valuable Asset - Employees.

You're also required to protect your employees from harm if they need to go to a dangerous place for their work. For example, employees that need to go more than six feet to perform their work must have some safety precaution. Roofers especially must take significant safety precautions.

That could be anything from netting to catch them if they or a safety rope, but you must protect them in some way.

4. Be Fair and Hold Yourself to A High Standard.

The Fair Labor Standards Act is another law employers should follow to the letter. It lays out standards for how you need to run your company so it's fair to employees. In Louisiana, you must pay them the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The law essentially states that you must pay employees at minimum wage, you must keep some form of records, and you cannot employee children. Following the law's basic rules will keep you out of legal trouble.

5. Record Everything. Then Protect Your Records.

Finally, you should keep records of everything in your business. If money comes in or goes out, there should be a paper trail following it. The same paper trail should follow hiring and firing employees. You should document everything that goes on under your company's roof.

By building a library of records, you can protect yourself if you're ever involved in a lawsuit. Yet, you also need to protect all the information you collect. Allowing sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands can land you with a negligence suit. 

Legal Trouble Can Be Devastating for Contractors.

Construction contractors should build their businesses as sturdy as their buildings. They need to be rock-solid, with a foundation of respect between employees and employers. The company should practice safety in all regards and abide by fair labor standards.

Failure to abide by the law's simple rules will result in complex legal trouble. At the same time though, that's a lot to manage all at once. It's easy to make mistakes - everyone does it.

If that happens, contact us. We will walk you through any issues you have fully resolve them, and we will ensure they will not threaten your business anymore.