Construction site risks can come from many directions. A worker twists his back while unloading a dolly of sheetrock. A new employee misses a briefing on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and cuts his finger. A site supervisor rushes his crew to meet a deadline, taking shortcuts with fall protection procedures.
The construction industry has one of the highest rates of injuries and fatalities among all industries. Building a strong safety program that provides clear recommendations and procedures can help identify and mitigate potential risks.
While Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations set standards, construction firms can go above and beyond these requirements to strengthen safe practices. The benefits include fewer at-risk behaviors, lower accident rates, less turnover, lower absenteeism, and high productivity. Many accidents and injuries lead to recuperation away from work, transfer to another job, restricted duties or a combination of these actions – sometimes resulting in lost wages or reduced income for workers and their families.
Beyond human pain and suffering, the costs of accidents are high. A November 2007 study in Accident Analysis and Prevention found the cost for construction deaths and injuries in 2002 was $11.5 billion, or 15 percent of the costs for all private industry.
The bottom line: accidents can erase profit margins quickly and often leave victims’ families in a state of emotional and financial distress.