- In its 2018 Safety Performance Report, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) said that contractors who use the association's Safety Performance Evaluation Process (STEP) can make their companies up to 670% safer than the industry average and reduce reportable safety incidents by 85%.
- ABC found that using proactive safety measures, or leading indicators, like substance abuse programs and new-hire orientations, make companies safer to work for than those that do not use such strategies. The other core leading indicators of the STEP program are site-specific safety orientations, toolbox talks, near-miss/near-hit analysis and establishment of a site safety committee. The ABC's report also noted that in addition to employee engagement, a successful safety program must have C-Suite engagement, which can reduce a company's total recordable incident rate (TRIR) by 70%.
- The STEP process allows contractors to measure their safety programs according to 20 key components; learn the best practices that reduce TRIRs, DART (days away, restricted or transferred) rates and EMRs (experience modification rates); benchmark their safety records against the rest of the industry; measure their improvement; and demonstrate their commitment to safety.
Despite initiatives like STEP, some construction industry safety organizations have reported distressing safety statistics recently.
During the last few months, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) found construction-site safety lacking in a few areas. Most recently, the CPWR determined that the number of fatal construction caught-in and caught-between injuries increased 33% from 2011 to 2015, which was more than the overall 26% increase in construction fatalities for that same period. The center said 67% of those who died were killed by falling materials. Ironworkers, older workers and those under 20 years of age were most likely to die in caught-in/between incidents.
In December, the CPWR also reported that more than 800 construction workers between 2011 and 2015 were killed in struck-by accidents. Nearly 18% of those fatalities died from being hit by a vehicle. The CPWR found that almost 60% of those workers died in a construction work zone. Of those workers killed by something other than a vehicle, 51% died from being hit by falling objects or equipment.
OSHA is still the gatekeeper for all things related to construction safety, but has had to navigate industry obstacles in the last few years in order to modernize its accident and injury reporting mechanism. The agency developed a rule that requires most categories of companies, construction included, to electronically report their injuries and illnesses.
OSHA received pushback against its plan to publicize the results, leading the agency to announce in November that it would issue a proposal to amend the rule so that employers would not have to submit forms that included sensitive employee information.