A recent study identified leading indicators that predict safer construction project sites. The report, entitled “Construction Safety Best Practices and Relationships to Safety Performance,” reviewed the effectiveness of dozens of “passive” and “active” leading indicators of safety at large building projects. This study also appears in the online edition of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
The study identified 14 passive indicators (which include programs intended to protect workers, such as a safety plan mandating wearing steel-toe boots) as the most effective and identified that projects with the lowest injury rates were those that used most of the following 14 passive indicators. For example, projects that implemented more than 80% of the passive indicators below had an injury rate of 0.43 for every 200,000 worker hours, while projects that implemented 20% to 40% of the indicators experienced an injury rate of 3.02. The 14 effective passive indicators were:
- Owner review and approval of safety plan,
Participation of all contractors in safety meetings,
Site-specific safety orientation for all managers,
100% steel-toe boots policy,
Medical facility on-site,
First aid log maintained,
Minimum ratio of safety professionals to workers,
Worker-to-worker observation program,
Worker involvement in perception surveys,
Foremen involved in safety policy,
Contracts that set a minimum ratio of safety supervisors to workers,
Contracts that impose work hour restrictions for workers,
Safety considered during the design phase, and
Formal safety review team determining disciplinary actions.
The report also recommended 13 active leading indicators, such as reporting near misses and safety auditing programs. The report also identified one passive indicator that was more often linked to higher injury rates (projects where workers were rewarded for not being injured).
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.