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Safety management in the construction industry: identifying risks and reducing accidents to improve site productivity and project ROI.

McGraw Hill Construction
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2013 Jan; :1-56
Over the last 20 years, the practice of construction has undergone profound changes. The types of projects, the manner in which those projects are delivered and the tools used for design and communication, all have changed dramatically. Additionally, new technologies, such as building information modeling (BIM), have enabled projects to become more complex. Therefore, it is essential for contractors to have a fully integrated, extensive safety program that can respond to evolving industry needs and allow them to stay competitive. The results of the study on project safety featured in this SmartMarket Report demonstrate that the adoption of safety practices are different between general contractors and subcontractors, as well as between small and large firms (through these factors are correlated). While over two thirds (67%) of the industry overall report having a fully inclusive and widely observed safety program, an extensive program is far more common for large firms: 1) 92% of firms with over 500 employees report this high level of safety program. 2) 48% of firms with less than 50 employees report the same. In order to increase adoption of stronger safety management programs, firms, especially smaller firms, need data to help make the case for these programs. This study reveals some other key benefits of these programs: 1) Faster Project Schedule: Reported by 43%, with half of these expecting savings of a week or more. 2) Higher Project ROI: Reported by 51%, with 73% of these expecting an increase by 1% or more. 3) Project Budget: Reported by 39%, with 73% of these expecting decreases of 1% or more. A good safety program also improves competitiveness in less tangible ways. Eighty-two percent report the positive impact of their safety program on their company's reputation, a factor that helps attract talent and new business. The study also demonstrates that critical industry trends, such as the use of BIM and prefabrication, are having powerful positive impacts on project safety. 1) BIM: 43% of the firms using BIM report that it improves site safety. 2) Prefabrication/Modularization: 49% of the firms using prefabrication/modularization find it improves site safety. The importance of these trends is reinforced by the fact that firms using BIM or prefabrication have significantly higher adoption levels of nearly all the safety practices measured in the survey. As the industry looks to increase productivity and competitiveness, lowering project risk through strong safety practices is increasingly important.
Construction; Construction-industry; Occupational-safety-programs; Management-personnel; Decision-making; Safety-climate; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-research; Small-businesses; Prefabricated-metal-buildings; Models; Information-systems
McGraw Hill Construction, Research and Analytics, 34 Crosby Drive, Suite 201, Bedford, MA 01730
Publication Date
Document Type
McGraw Hill Construction
Funding Type
Construction; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
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Source Name
Safety management in the construction industry: identifying risks and reducing accidents to improve site productivity and project ROI
Performing Organization
CPWR - Center for Construction Research and Training
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division