ABC Report: Safety Best Practices Can Make Construction Companies 670 Percent Safer

Want a safer job site? Six leading indicators have been shown to have the most dramatic impact on construction job site safety, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors. The indicators have been analyzed by the ABC using data from companies that participate in the Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) program, representing more than a billion hours of work. The ABC reports that companies following the STEP program have reduced recordable incidents by up to 85 percent, making the best-performing companies 670 percent safer than the industry average.

The six indicators that have the most dramatic impact on safety performance as reported by ABC are:

Substance Abuse Programs
A written substance abuse program/policy with provisions for drug and alcohol testing where permitted. One-third of all incidents on construction job sites are drug- or alcohol related. Companies with substance abuse programs in place are more than 60 percent safer than those without an implemented program. Plus, substance abuse testing can be an effective method of incident prevention if used properly.

New Hire Safety Orientation
Companies that conduct an in-depth indoctrination of new hires into the safety culture, systems and processes based on a documented orientation process experience nearly 50 percent lower incident rates than companies that limit their orientations to basic safety and health compliance topics. CEO or senior leadership delivers that introduction to the company’s safety culture and core values, including: safety commitment, expectations and responsibilities; workplace safety rules specific to the site and hazards; hazard injury and emergency communication and reporting procedures; protective gear/safety skills demonstrations; assignment of a safety mentor to each new hire until orientation is complete; performance evaluation and record-keeping.

Site-specific Safety Orientation
To include: site-specific policies and procedures; site-specific hazards and operations; sompany safety vision and core values; an emphasis on the importance of stopwork authority and peer observations.

Toolbox Talks
Brief, single-topic training sessions of 15 to 30 minutes conducted on the jobsite for all employees. Can you brief employees on safety too much? No matter what you may have heard, there is no negative effect to conducting daily toolbox talks. The less frequently this type of training is conducted and the fewer safety topics covered, the higher the lagging indicators. Companies that conduct daily toolbox talks reduce Total Recordable Incident Rate by more than 60 percent compared to companies that hold them weekly.

Near-miss/Near-hit Analysis
The site supervisor investigates accidents and near misses promptly, determines causal factors, follows up and takes corrective actions, then shares the lessons learned.

Site Safety Committee
Regular meetings coordinated by the general contractor or construction manager that includes representatives from site employees, subcontractors, vendors/suppliers and the client. Companies that participated in site safety committee meetings had 23 percent to 25 percent fewer incidents. These information- and idea-sharing sessions serve as a communications hub to enhance jobsite safety. The committee, comprised of volunteers or members selected by peers, should meet at least weekly to raise and correct safety concerns and should represent all subcontractors on site.

View the ABC’s 4th annual Safety Performance Report


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