ABC Report: Safety Best Practices Can Make Construction Companies 720% Safer

Report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 86%

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In observance of Safety Week, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) released its 2016 Safety Performance Report to further the industry’s understanding of how to make construction jobsites safer. Packed with infographics and practical takeaways, the report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 86%, making the best-performing companies 720% safer than the industry average.

“Until now, relatively little research has been conducted on the correlation between the use of ‘leading indicators,’ such as  substance abuse programs, new hire safety orientation and near-miss investigations, and safer construction jobsites,” said ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman. “Now we have empirical evidence from members doing real work on real projects that shows that implementing these best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs.”

The Safety Performance Report is based on more than 1,700 sets of unique company data gathered from ABC member companies in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades. It tracked 35 data points from ABC’s 2015 Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) participants to determine the correlation between implementing leading indicator use and lagging indicator performance, which is measured by the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away and Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate. Each of the data points collected was sorted using statistically valid methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey, and combined to produce analyses of STEP participant performance against BLS industry average incidence rates.

Among the findings:

  • Companies that attained the highest level of STEP participation, Diamond, reduced their TRIR by 86% compared to the BLS industry average of 3.6 injuries/fatalities per 100 full-time employees.
  • Companies with a robust substance abuse program/policy in place dramatically outperformed those with a weaker program (reducing DART by 55%) and those with no program (reducing DART by 80%).
  • Conducting a new hire safety orientation of more than 195 minutes reduced TRIR by 93% compared to an orientation of less than 75 minutes.
  • Companies that held site-specific safety orientations reduced their TRIR by 66%.
  • Holding daily toolbox talks (brief, single-topic training sessions conducted on the jobsite for all employees) reduced TRIR by 79% vs. holding them monthly.
  • Leadership engagement at the C-suite level and a high level of employee participation created significant results. High-scoring firms in each of these areas reduced their TRIR by 57%.

STEP was founded in 1989 by the ABC National Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) Committee as a safety benchmarking and improvement tool. Participating ABC member firms measure their safety processes and policies on 20 key components through a detailed questionnaire with the goal of implementing or enhancing safety programs that reduce jobsite incidence rates. Applying world-class processes dramatically improves safety performance among participants regardless of company size or type of work.