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Ensuring the Safety of Construction Workers on the Road
By Chris Bachler
May 8, 2017
A key part of a safety culture is universal recognition within a company that all employees are accountable for safety on projects, not just designated safety personnel. According to the report, Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry by Dodge Data & Analytics, three indicators measure the degree to which a company fosters widespread accountability for safety and health on projects.
The first indicator reveals the wide recognition of safety accountability in the construction industry. Nearly all (97%) of respondents feel that everyone is held accountable for safety on at least some of their projects and a very high percentage (73%) see this happening on more than 70% of their projects. Given how widespread this perception is, it is not surprising that there are no significant differences by company type or size on this issue.
The findings also demonstrate that near misses are being taken seriously and investigated, with most (95%) reporting that this takes place on at least some of their projects. 60% report that this occurs on more than 70% of their projects, still a very high percentage, though a little short of those seeing widespread accountability in general. Use of this practice is most common at a high level among companies with 100 or more employees (78%), but it drops off sharply among smaller companies (42%). This may be due to larger companies having better established procedures and resources for investigation, but it is a disparity that the industry may benefit from addressing.
Use of external safety and health audits are far less commonly reported by respondents, with only 74% reporting this occurring on any of their projects. Less than half (41%) of them report the use of audits on 70% or more of their projects, and nearly one third (31%) report it on less than one quarter of their projects.
As with near-misses, there is no significant difference between general and specialty contractors in their degree of use of this practice, but there is a notable difference by size of rm. Nearly half of the respondents from companies with over 500 employees (49%) report a high level of use, but less than one quarter from companies with fewer than 50 employees report the same. It is possible that the cost of external audits as a share of overall expenses is much lower on very large projects than on the smaller ones, so it may be harder for smaller firms to justify the ROI for these expenses for many of their projects.
Read the full report here.
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