By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
RoofersCoffeeShop® has made it easier than ever for members of the roofing and construction industries to learn how they want and when they want with the Read, Listen, Watch (RLW) initiative. Whether you want to read a transcript, listen to a podcast, or watch a webinar, the Coffee Shop has made it possible for you to learn your way.
In a recent RLW, Trent Cotney of Cotney Attorneys and Consultants, discusses how now more than ever it is important to have up to date, pertinent employee and safety manuals, along with the most current contract language. Trent shares how to employ maintenance procedures and policies for all of your most important corporate documents.
Trent is well known in the industry for all the help he provides contractors. Starting as a small firm out of Florida, Cotney Attorneys and Consultants has grown into an international firm. He provides General Counsel for the National Roofing Contractors Association, Western States Roofing Contractors Association and Florida Roofers and Sheet Metal Contractors Association.
“A lot of the legal problems that I get called into, they're really just business problems,” says Trent. “If you take the time to mitigate risk up front, you can hopefully just call me for a friendly chat rather than a legal dispute.”
Trent says one of the biggest issues that Cotney Attorneys and Consultants faces as a company is keeping their customers up to date on current rules and regulations. Trent stresses that in his practice, they strive to “make sure that we are providing that information, as well as encouraging every contractor out there to make sure that your safety manual remains updated.”
Safety manual updates are one of the most important ways that you can mitigate risk upfront, in addition to a culture of safety. “It doesn't matter if you just got it in a document, you [have] to train. So that's where the toolbox talks and the ongoing training comes in,” says Trent. After all, “it's not management that gets you in trouble, it's the people that are on the roof, doing the actual labor that you need to make sure are being properly trained.”
Trent stresses that part of this training is making sure that employees are not only armed with job site safety plans, but an understanding of their rights and how to respond to an OSHA investigation. “I really believe strongly in...understanding and knowing what your rights are during an OSHA inspection,” Trent tells Heidi.
“That’s why we just published our second book on OSHA, OSHA Defense: Know Your Rights. It goes through what your rights are, and it tells you this is what you can do; how to cooperate but how to assert your constitutional rights when you have that ability.”
Trent stresses that your employees having an updated safety manual, solid training that covers implementing these changes, as well as the process and preparing them for an OSHA investigation will help mitigate risk. “If you spend time trying to fix the problem now, then it's not going to be a problem," says Trent.
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