"Safety and health considerations need to permeate all levels of a construction company’s culture, informing decisions, planning, activities and behaviors. It is not enough to simply have safety rules, training and protocols in effect. Leading companies nurture a comprehensive safety culture throughout their organizations, both from the top down and the bottom up.
In this report, our latest study on safety management in the construction industry, we take a close look at 33 indicators of a safety culture, including:
- Measures of Management Commitment to Safety and Health
- Worker Involvement in Jobsite Safety
- Company Communications on Safety
- The Degree to Which Safety is Treated as a Fundamental Company Value
The findings provide a fascinating view across a safety culture spectrum, with nearly equal numbers of companies currently showing high, moderate and low levels of engagement with these indicators. While this reveals that we still have work to do as an industry before safety cultures are prevalent at most companies, it also shows that enough companies now have a strong safety culture in place to begin to identify best practices and inspire improvements that will benefit the entire industry.
In addition to exploring the elements of a safety culture, the study also provides new data on many of the topics covered in the 2013 Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report, enabling comparisons that suggest some interesting changes.
Increasing Industry Recognition of the Importance of the Jobsite Worker to Enhance Safety
Consistently, more respondents in the current study than in the previous one report the important role of jobsite workers in encouraging safety. One of the most telling findings is that 85% of respondents now consider jobsite worker involvement to be a critical aspect of a world-class safety program, a huge jump up from the 66% who selected it previously, which caused it to shift from sixth place to first place in the percentage selecting it.
Higher Number of Respondents Now Experiencing Benefits From Safety Investments
A significantly higher percentage of contractors report:
- Decreased Reportable Injuries, up 10 percentage points in the current study to 81%
- Increased Ability to Contract New Work, up 10 percentage points to 76%
- Increased Ability to Retain Staff, up 18 percentage points to 64%
- Increased Ability to Attract New Staff, up 8 percentage points to 46%
While the business benefits of reducing injuries and increasingly being able to contract new work are clear, the ability to retain and attract staff is becoming more important to remain competitive as the construction market grows and the availability of skilled workers tightens.
Strikingly, all of the 10 positive impacts of safety were also experienced by a much higher percentage of those at the high end of the safety culture spectrum, demonstrating its undeniable value to companies seeking to be more competitive.
The findings also suggest that we may be on the cusp of a strong increase in the use of online training, potentially spurred by continual advances in mobile devices and better software. This will be an interesting trend to track in our future research."
Special thanks to Steve Jones, Senior Director and Donna Laquidara-Carr, Ph.D., LEED AP, Director of Industry Insights Research at Dodge Data & Analytics, for the courtesy of this blog. This article was originally published in the introduction of the 2016 SmartMarket Report, Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry by Jones and Laquidara-Carr, that ClickSafety is proudly a Supporting Research Partner of.
To learn more about the findings mentioned above and their implications for safety leaders not only in the Construction Industry but also General Industry and many others, join the author, Laquidara-Carr, and Paul Colangelo, National Director of Compliance Programs at ClickSafety, as they present "Building A Safety Culture." Click below to register for the on-demand edition: