Why is construction safety important?
The construction industry tops the list when it comes to workplace injuries and fatalities, even with tightened safety regulations over the years. It’s important for companies to prioritize construction safety to minimize these risks and keep employees safe. When employees are safe, it strengthens your company’s reputation, and it leads to greater employee satisfaction and retention over time.
Here are some key stats that put into perspective the importance of construction safety:
- About 20% of worker fatalities per year in private industry were in construction – accounting for one in five worker deaths for the year 
- More than half of the fatalities resulted from what OSHA calls the “Fatal Four” (falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and getting caught in or between equipment or objects) 
- Eliminating construction industry deaths from the “Fatal Four” could save more than 582 U.S. workers’ lives every year, given that the death toll stems largely from non-compliance with safety regulations 
- Businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses — expenditures that come straight out of company profits 
How daily construction safety meetings can help
Safety meetings and training will help you keep in compliance with OSHA standards that require employers to talk to employees about safety. Many construction companies are holding daily safety meetings, also known as toolbox talks, that cover the key areas that employees need to be trained on.
By implementing regular safety meetings on different topics, you’ll likely see a decrease in the number of accidents on site. Here are some key findings on how these daily meetings can help:
- Companies that host safety meetings once a month have a total recordable incident rate (TRIR, a statistic you can calculate and compare to industry averages) four times higher than those that hold them daily 
- Holding daily toolbox talks reduces a company’s DART (days away, restricted, or transferred) rate by 66 percent compared to monthly talks. 
- Implementing a safety program can reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%. 
How construction safety impacts productivity
Prioritizing safety leads to greater productivity in the construction industry. Given the state of the construction industry in 2021, companies will need to maximize their productivity in order to stay competitive and ensure projects are completed on schedule for customers.
Here are some key findings on the impact of safety on productivity:
- The productivity lost from workplace injuries and illnesses costs an additional $60 billion yearly 
- The median number of days away from work because of a job-related injury or illness in construction is 10 days. 
- Companies with good health and safety programs outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia by 24.9 percent. Companies that didn’t have those programs underperformed. 
Ensure compliance and avoid costly fines
The construction industry is one of the most frequently inspected by OSHA and they can visit a worksite at any time for an inspection. Employers that have strong safety management programs in place ensure that they are in compliance with OSHA standards, and they are less likely to be fined.
Here are some important stats on OSHA violations and fines:
- OSHA’s maximum penalty for a “serious” violation is $13,653 per violation 
- The OSHA fine for a “willful or repeated violation” is $136,532 per violation 
- The fine for a violation that causes an injury but not a death (what OSHA defines as an “other than serious” violation) is $13,653. In the tragic event that an employee’s life is lost, violations become criminal offenses and can carry fines of up to half a million dollars. 
Impact of safety on insurance premiums
Another benefit of focusing on safety is that you avoid more accidents, which in turn can lower your company’s insurance costs. Workers’ compensation premiums are calculated by taking the rate that is set based on the class of employee and multiplying it by an experience modification rating (EMR). The EMR adjusts premiums based on your previous three years of injury records.
Lowering the number of incidents will help to keep your costs down, and here are a few noteworthy stats about insurance premiums in the construction industry:
- Employers in the construction industry spend about $1 per hour per employee on workers’ comp, compared to the national average of $.45 per hour per employee for all other industries 
- Employers pay almost $1 billion a week in workers’ compensation costs alone 
- A small improvement in your EMR can translate into a 10-20% reduction in insurance premiums. 
There are also many indirect costs of claims, including lost productivity, cost to hire replacement workers, and administrative costs to handle the claims.
Comprehensive safety management for construction
The data makes it very clear that construction companies and their employees benefit when the organization is invested in safety programs. Investing in a solution like GoCanvas makes it easy for companies to track and report on their safety programs in near real-time.
Our safety management solution is customizable to meet your business needs and it includes several pre-built safety forms, including Toolbox Talks, Incident Reports, and Job Safety Analysis.
One interesting (and final) stat to share is that GoCanvas customers report reducing their risk and liability by 18%. You can get started for free with GoCanvas to see how mobile apps and forms can make your safety program more effective.