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Safety and Health Must Be Fundamental Company Values


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81% of respondents report that their company values safety and health at least as much as productivity.

A safety culture depends on recognition across the company, from management to workers, that the company has adopted safety and health as fundamental company values. There is still a lingering perception that safety and productivity are at odds even. But the report, Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry,by Dodge Data & Analytics demonstrates the positive impact of safety on factors such as project schedule that are tied directly to productivity. However, according to this study, 81% of respondents report that their company values safety and health at least as much as productivity. This is critical if workers are to feel sufficiently empowered to stop work or ask for changes that may have a brief impact on the productivity of a project.

On the other hand, a much lower percentage (57%) report that their company recognizes/rewards safety and health participation. This is one of the lowest scoring indicators of a safety culture in the study, but that may be due in part to the challenge of rewarding safety without inadvertently incentivizing workers to fail to report safety infractions. It is more commonly reported by general contractors (65%) than specialty contractors (47%).

A relatively high percentage (89%) report that their companies encourage safety and health mentoring. Also notable is that the highest percentage believe that the majority of their company leadership (more than 70%) encourage mentoring, which, again, supports the perception that safety is valued at their company.

The degree to which companies factor safety and health into planning and bidding is very similar to their encouragement of mentoring, with 90% reporting this occurs at some level, and the highest percentage (39%) who say it occurs on more than 70% of their projects. However, a higher percentage of general contractors (43%) factors safety and health into planning and bidding than specialty contractors (26%), but there were no significant differences by company type for mentoring. 

All of the indicators that safety and health are fundamental company values are more widely reported by respondents at large companies, especially those with 500 or more employees, than at smaller companies. This suggests that the industry needs to find ways to encourage smaller companies to adopt these approaches. Concerns about the time involved may prevent companies from adopting such key indicators as encouraging mentoring or making sure safety is factored into planning and bidding.

Read the full report here