A Brief Introduction About the Safety Contract
Ensuring the safety of people employed or admitted to an organization or hospital is one of the primary concerns. A safety agreement lays down the rules that a person should follow and creates a safety net in cases of accidents, making the other party solely responsible for not adhering to safety guidelines.
A contract for safety may be used in organizations that are dealing with hazardous chemicals or for students working in a lab. Such a contract is also used when a patient who is suicidal is admitted to a hospital or a mental institution. It can be used between contractors and a company or a student and a school. It is a legally binding document that states the burden of responsibility in case of accidents in the future. Commonly, it also contains a list of precautions to be followed.
Who Takes the Safety Contract
A safety agreement can be taken by an employer, a student, a scientist, a patient, or anyone who is exposed to a dangerous environment or a risky situation. The other party to the contract is generally an organization like a company, school, or hospital that wants to set legal terms and conditions and ensure the safety of the people who are involved with them. Such contracts are entered into across the globe and are extremely important in contract law, helping organizations to execute their duty of care.
Purpose of the Safety Contract
The safety contract serves three purposes:
- It lists down the safety rules to be followed, so the parties know how they are supposed to conduct themselves to remain safe.
- It mentions who will bear responsibility in case of accidents.
- It protects the organization and the individual both from legal liability, working as a contract for prevention.
It is an agreement that sets out a safety plan. In case of a suicide safety agreement, it sets out a suicide safety plan along with helping to determine the level of care and the other legal questions.
Contents of the Safety Contract
The most important contents of the safety contract are as follows:
- Personal details of both the parties, including their contact details.
- Comprehensive list of safety guidelines that can establish the code of conduct.
- Instructions and guidelines to deal with hazards and accidents in the organization.
- Acceptance by the other party, worded as a clause in the contract.
- A clause that states the legal consequences of accidents and the responsibility of either party.
- Detailed terms and conditions, with the rights and obligations of all the parties to the contract.
- A safety plan that is agreed upon by all the parties to the contract and steps to execute such a plan.
- Signature of both the parties.
How to Draft the Safety Contract
Keeping these points in mind while drafting a safety agreement will prove to be useful:
- Refer to a contract for safety example that has already been drafted. A template will make it easy to make sure that you don’t miss out on important points.
- Use clear and concise language and cover as many details as possible.
- Avoid the use of vague and ambiguous terms that may result in misinterpretation or confusion.
- Define rarely used and complex legal terms at the beginning of the document.
- When writing the safety guidelines, always mention the step by step procedure to be followed in case of an emergency. This helps to prepare the parties for an accident, promoting safety.
- It is always advisable to keep the safety agreement as detailed as possible. Don’t miss out on even the minutest instruction or guideline. This could be the difference between life and death in case of an accident.
- If one party to the contract is a student, also create a space for the signature and consent of the parent.
- Should a party does not comply with the safety rules, consequences for the same must be mentioned. For example, entry into an organization’s premises can be barred until compliance has been met.
- Mention the governing law for the contract.
- Include the general legal clauses in a contract like the clauses of severability, force majeure, entire agreement, etc.
- Include the procedure for dispute resolution and the place for such redressal.
Negotiation has been a boon to the legal field. In the case of safety agreements, negotiation can boost the understanding of the safety procedures in the minds of both parties. Both parties can contribute to creating a safety framework that is in the best interest of both. Negotiation can also be employed in deciding the consequences of an accident and in ascertaining the legal liabilities of each party in case an accident occurs.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Safety Contract
Here are the pros and cons of a safety contract.
- Protection: The contract is a way to enhance the safety levels of an organization which is also a good step for a person’s life and health.
- Prevention: It is a kind of preventive contract as it protects an organization from legal liability in case of an accident.
- Clarity: It makes the consenting party aware of the risks and safety guidelines that can help minimize the risks.
- Record: It serves as a record of what the parties agreed upon in case of future disputes.
- Legally binding: Everything written in the signed safety agreement is binding upon both parties and can be enforced in the courts of law.
- Expensive: Drafting a contract that is free of legal loopholes requires expertise. This may involve hiring a lawyer for drafting your safety agreement which can make the entire process an expensive one.
- Misinterpretation: If not explained well, the rules and responsibilities may not be well understood by the parties, defeating the purpose of the contract.
- Ignorance: Despite signing a safety agreement, many times, people have failed to adhere to the guidelines and exposed themselves to dangerous situations. This is why just a written agreement is not a guarantee for safety.
- Not preventive: If there is gross negligence of the part of an organization and the injured party has followed all the safety guidelines, the company or organizations can be sued in the courts of law. In such cases, the agreement would not protect them.
[ Also Read: Aleatory Contract ]
What Happens in Case of a Violation of the Safety Contract?
A violation of the contract can occur on the part of an organization or the consenting party. A breach can happen when either party fails to perform its obligation according to the contract. In case of a breach of contract, the following remedies are available to the aggrieved party:
- Damages: The injured party can claim monetary compensation in the form of damages from the other party as a result of the breach.
- Rescission: When one party to the contract does not fulfill the obligations, the other party can also refuse to do so and rescind the contract.
- Specific performance: By suing for specific performance, the court may direct the breaching party to carry out their obligations, and the contract will stand as it is. The court passes a decree to this effect.
- Injunction: Through this, a court may direct the breaching party to either stop doing something harmful or do something positive about the contractual obligations of the party.
- Reformation: This remedy is used when a part of the contract needs to be restructured for it be carried out efficiently.
Depending upon the terms of the contract, other remedies may also be available to the aggrieved party in case of a violation of the contract. Violation is taken very seriously as it may directly affect the life of a person. If hurt or harm has been caused to a person’s life or health, one can also sue under criminal law – for example, for criminal negligence(1).
Ensuring the safety of anything that matters to you and to preserve your health and life are essential. Although a safety contract is a legal document, it is a tool to keep yourself safe. It is a way to be informed about the guidelines to be followed when you are working or involved in a hazardous, dangerous or delicate situation or condition so that you can be on alert and take care of yourself as needed.
More than just being a contract, it promotes safety and preparedness, which is why care and protection must be at the core of the contract when it’s being drafted. It should not be used as a way to escape responsibility.
Consulting a legal expert before drafting such a contract is always advised. However, you can draft your contract by referring to some samples available online.