Despite construction workers making up just six percent of our nation’s workforce, they continue to claim over 20 percent of our nation’s worker deaths! It’s more imperative than ever that construction companies make an effective Site-Specific Safety Plan their #1 resolution heading in to 2022!
According to the National Institutes of Health, construction injuries cost the U.S. more than $11.5 billion a year. An estimated $5 billion is attributed to construction site deaths. These injuries and deaths occur not only with employees, but site visitors and the general public as well. We can continue to improve these statistics by ensuring that construction sites implement a Site-Specific Safety Plan that incorporates proper training, regulation, and equipment.
Proper safety education is an investment that no business can afford to skimp. Does each one of your crew members understand the three points of contact that drastically reduce the number of falls? Are they fully schooled in every piece of equipment, like cranes and aerial lifts to avoid collisions and falling objects? Have you established thorough on-site communication, like hand signals?
We all know that regulations only protect our workers if they are followed. OSHA regulations often seem cumbersome and costly, but they are implemented for the benefit of our industry, and NOT following them can be much more costly to your construction company. More than 130,000 construction works miss work due to injuries yearly, obviously decreasing productivity. Ignoring OSHA guidelines is not only a tragic mistake in terms of potential injury and death to our workers, the penalties accrued by ignoring these regulations are an unnecessary loss to our industry, costing anywhere from $14,000 to $135,000 for violations.
Safety equipment is a critical investment for every employee. High visibility clothing, hard hats, and ear protection must be mandated, as well as gloves, eye and face protection, in addition to protective and slip-resistant footwear. Machinery safety must be enforced as well, with cable protectors, wheel chocks, and warning whips utilized every time and serving as only the start of equipment safety.
OSHA estimates that for every dollar invested in one, your company will save between four and six dollars in unnecessary losses. And we all know that we can never attach a dollar value to the emotional toll of injuries and death on a job site.
Perhaps the greatest risk to any construction site is to assume that contractors have been fully trained by former employers. Let’s make a dent in the number of on-site tragedies in 2022 by starting from scratch and ensuring the safety of an industry that is so vital to the growth and prosperity of our nation.