Industry News




 

04/19/2013

Are Smaller Firms Slacking in Safety?

 
A new study may indicate that smaller construction firms do not have the resources to fully embrace safety measures.

Contractors are reporting high use of safety practices, but fully-inclusive programs are not yet taking place in smaller firms, according to a new study by McGraw-Hill Construction on safety management in the construction industry. Can smaller firms just not afford the same safety commitments?  Are the solutions available and affordable?

92% of firms with over 500 employees report having fully inclusive and widely observed safety programs, but smaller firms lag with nearly half, 48%, reporting the same. However, individual safety practices are widely adopted across the industry demonstrating an awareness of the importance of safety programs — 60% of contractors report that they use eight of 15 practices included in the survey. The most widely used practices demonstrate the value construction firms place on bringing safety practices directly to jobsites:

  • Including jobsite workers in the safety practice (80%)
  • Analyzing potential site safety hazards before construction begins (78%)

"These results show the industry is concerned about safety and making clear strides to help manage it, but owners need to help drive smaller firms to incorporate the same level of holistic investment that larger firms are currently able to make," says Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights and Alliances with McGraw-Hill Construction. "Our study results reveal that the industry knows what to do; it just needs the tools and incentives to do so."

In fact, the industry reports that business factors, such as insurance costs (78%) and liability concerns (77%) play a strong role in contractors' decisions to invest in safety practices. And 78% of the industry believes that reduced insurance rates due to better safety records will drive wider adoption of safety management practices in the future. With business factors having such a strong influence, many players in the construction industry beyond contractors can clearly impact the goal of making the construction sector safer.

Concern over worker health and well-being is also driving implementation of safety practices, with 79% reporting this as a major driver to their investments in safety management.

"The fact that an average of 13 workers die on the job every day in America means that we are far from reaching a zero injury goal,” says Brian Tonry, executive vice president and general manager of ClickSafety.com. “A commitment to safety training helps save lives and supports construction workers with the awareness they need to prevent accidents and injuries. At the same time, it is building an effective safety culture that holds the entire construction team responsible for safe work practices."

The top three practices selected as most effective in increasing project safety confirm the importance of bringing safety practices directly to the jobsite, and they also demonstrate that creating a safety plan as early as possible on a project can also have a strong impact on project safety:

  • Developing a site-specific health and safety plan
  • Analyzing potential site safety hazards before construction begins
  • Appointing/assigning/authorizing project safety personnel before construction begins

These results demonstrate that the growing industry trend of increased collaboration on construction projects needs to include safety professionals from construction firms to fully capitalize on leading safety practices.

"It's encouraging to hear firms report that concern for worker health and well-being is the top driver for their investment in health and safety, a motivator that ranked well ahead of regulatory requirements," says CPWR Executive Director Pete Stafford.  "In the construction safety and health research community we hear a lot about safety culture. With 80% of firms reporting that they include jobsite workers in their safety process, it's clear that most contractors believe involving workers is a key element to their programs and instilling a positive safety culture on their projects."

In addition to firm size, firm type is a factor that influences the level of safety practice adoption. General contractors consistently have higher adoption rates than trade contractors for every practice, although the relative ranking of specific practices remains the same.

 

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04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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