It’s Construction Safety Week and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have released their 2024 Safety Performance Report.

ABC’s research on more than 900 million work hours completed by participants in the construction, heavy construction, civil engineering, and specialty trades in 2023 identified the following foundations of industry-leading employee safety best practices:

Top management engagement:

Employer involvement at the highest level of company management produces a 54% reduction in total recordable incident rates (TRIR), and a 52% reduction in days away, restricted or transferred rates (DART). Leadership engagement is key in creating a company culture where safety is an obligation for all employees and providing the resources to initiate, review, and sustain safety throughout.

Substance abuse prevention programs:

One-third of all incidents on construction jobsites are drug- or alcohol-related. Robust substance abuse prevention programs/policies with provisions for drug and alcohol testing where permitted lead to a 47% reduction in TRIR and a 48% reduction in DART rates. Key components to reduce incidents include:

  • A safety policy with strict rules regarding drug and alcohol use, supervisor training, recordkeeping, and active enforcement.
  • Drug and alcohol testing pre-hire, randomly and with reasonable suspicion.
  • An employee assistance program and available education on substance abuse prevention.

New hire in-depth safety orientation:

Companies that conduct an indoctrination of new employees into the safety culture, systems, and processes based on a documented orientation process experience incident rates that are 45% lower than companies that limit their orientations to basic health and safety compliance topics. Key components include:

  • Safety commitment, expectations, and responsibilities.
  • Workplace safety rules specific to the site and hazards.
  • Hazard, injury, and emergency communication and reporting procedures.
  • Protective gear/safety skills demonstrations.
  • Assignment of a safety mentor to each new hire until orientation is complete.
  • Performance evaluation and recordkeeping.

Toolbox Talks:

Companies that conduct daily training sessions – brief, single-topic 15-to-30-minute toolbox talks reduce TRIR and DART rates by 78% compared to companies that hold them monthly.

Real estate developers, owners, and project managers face many challenges in delivering construction projects on time and on budget. Good safety and documentation practices can help protect your employees, prevent down time, as well as help you to move a project from blueprint to completion.