The construction safety numbers coming out of New York City are disturbing, and so is the trend for lack of safety around the country.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 828 construction fatalities in 2013. Not only does OSHA believe that all of these accidents are preventable, but some of the largest contractors in the country also believe that safety benefits are well worth the investment needed to create a safe job site.
The Bottom Line Of Safe Job Sites
Before talking about how to create safe job sites, it is important to discuss why safety is worth the investment. Construction companies are just like any other company in that the annual profit margin is a big concern. Unfortunately, many contractors try to pad that profit margin by cutting out spending on safety. With the way the numbers have turned out, skimping on safety is a very bad idea.
According to Construction Dive, construction companies that prioritized safety over everything else saw a 75 percent return on investment with the money they spent on operations. These companies also held an employee retention rate of 78 percent, which helps to keep hiring costs low. Safer companies were also able to attract 67 percent more quality employees than companies that did not focus on safety. In the end, the numbers prove that a focus on safety is great for the company profit margin.
Creating A Culture Of Safety
Developing a safe job site is more than just putting up a few signs and having a mandatory worker training once each year. It is about developing a culture where everyone values safety. The online OSHA magazine lists five activities that every construction company should make mandatory in order to create a safe work culture.
Among the top activities, all construction companies should mandate to employees is the wearing of protective clothing at all times, and being careful around all unfamiliar equipment. Some of the most dangerous construction accidents occur when workers try to get involved with electrical work when they do not have any electrical safety equipment. Workers should also be mindful of all job site warning signs and fences, and make it their job to report any safety infractions.
Companies Putting Safety First
When major companies do more than just make a token investment in safety, that means that safety matters. Companies that invest in safety and take pride in their safety record are able to get the big jobs and stay in business longer. Examples of such companies are L.P. Ciminelli and Consigli Construction. L.P. Ciminelli is a Buffalo, New York-based contractor that does some of the largest jobs in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic portions of the country. Consigli Construction is a major contractor based in Milford, Massachusetts that also takes on some of the larger projects in the Northeast.
Additionally, both companies have designated staff for safety and spend a great deal of money on worker training and other methods to remind workers that safety is part of the company culture.
As pointed out previously, safer companies are more profitable than companies that skimp on safety. The living proof
of that statement lies in the significant effort these two successful contracting organizations put into making safety a part of their culture.
Leadership Makes A Difference
Creating a safe job site culture starts from the top of a company and works its way down. If the management team is not dedicated to safety, then the rest of the company is not going to make safety a priority. But when management puts an emphasis on safety, then the rest of the company works hard to create a safe work culture.
Contractors that focus on safety make more money, get more work, and attract top construction talent. When you look at the numbers involved in investing in safety, it only makes sense that every contractor should make safety a priority each and every day.