Key US construction study concludes that a health & safety culture really does affect the bottom line

Worker using a still saw with no PPE gloves, googles and dust mask
US Worker using a still saw with no PPE gloves, googles and dust mask

Construction contractors who take safety seriously and invest more in worker safety really do achieve better profitability than contractors who spend less on safety, according to the results of a recent US survey.

More than 250 contractors participated in the survey, which was conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics (in partnership with the Center for Construction Research and Training and United Rentals).

The study measured contractors on 33 leading indicators to determine their place on the spectrum of safety culture. Thirty-two percent of contractors scored on the high end of the spectrum, 35 percent scored in the moderate level and 33 percent scored on the low end.

The key finding were that contractors who scored higher on the safety culture spectrum reported greater business benefits from their safety investments than contractors who scored on the lower end of the spectrum.

  • Improved project quality: 88 percent (upper end) versus 56 percent (lower end)
  • Improved staff retention: 79 percent (upper end) versus 45 percent (lower end)
  • Increased project return on investment: 75 percent (upper end) versus 38 percent (lower end)
  • Greater ability to attract new staff: 67 percent (upper end) versus 27 percent (lower end)

competent personIn addition the researchers compared these results to those of a similar survey conducted in 2012 and found that more contractors are recognising the role of workers in increasing project safety. Jobsite worker involvement scored as the most widely recognised aspect of a world-class safety program: 85 percent, an increase of 19 percentage points from the 2012 survey. Involve your workers in the process of safety on site and they will deliver.

Mosaic Management Systems provides health and safety site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks.

To find out more about the company please follow the link.

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Building Safety Group says Construction Workers Health Standards Concerning

Serious concerns have been raised over the health standards of construction workers after a series of independent inspections of construction sites found that dust masks were not being used correctly. The findings of the 10,000 visits made to sites throughout the country by the Building Safety Group (BSG – not for profit building consultancy) earlier in the year found that a significant number of workers had not fitted their masks correctly.

The BSG said that most of the breaches uncovered related to the way firms use “face fit” dust masks, which the group said was particularly concerning as these masks cut down on the risk of workers inhaling dangerous chemicals from the dust they are working with.

The substances can lead to fatal diseases such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and lung cancer.

Overall, the inspections carried out by the BSG discovered that occupational health non-compliance concerns went up by 28% between the first and second quarters of 2016. Furthermore, there was a 43% increase in violations concerning the control of substances hazardous to health and a 13% rise in dust fume infringements.

The findings of the research has led Paul Kimpton, BSG Managing Director, to call for construction companies to review their health and safety protocol on a regular basis to make sure that they comply with the latest legislation.

Kimpton commented: “Everyone involved in construction has a responsibility in managing risks to health, and all parties must take ownership of their part of the process. Construction dust is not just a nuisance. It can seriously damage your health and cause life-changing lung diseases.”

The findings come at a time when the construction industry is taking big steps as a whole to cut down on the risks to health and safety.

Mosaic Management Systems provide industry safety critical online software to aid on boarding of a workforce, competency checking and to record briefings and toolbox talks. By communicating health and safety expectations effectively about site procedures and standards from the outset and thereafter followed up by briefings and toolbox talks will improve site management considerably. To contact us and find out more about the services we offer please click the link.

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Top 8 Health & Safety risks found on construction sites

The construction industry accident fatality rate stands at twice that of other sectors. Construction sites are therefore callenging places from a health and safety perspective – almost every conceivable hazard exists within this constantly changing working environment.

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However the hazards associated with construction sites are well known and luckily most responsible employers are aware of their duty of care to employees, visitors, and those that may be affected by their activities, and will manage the site effectively, implementing appropriate accident prevention measures.

Listed below are just a few of the main hazards that are encountered on a typical construction site:

1. Working at Height

The construction of buildings invariably requires tradesmen to work at height. Fatalities and injuries involving height relating factors account for many accidents each year. The risks associated with working at a height are often increased by additional access and mobility restrictions.

2. Moving Objects

A construction site is always on the move; hazards are inherent to this industry and only increase as a construction project progress. Construction sites are busy places what with the shear volume of constantly moving vehicles and trades people – overhead lifting equipment shifting heavy loads, supply vehicles, dumper trucks everywhere, manoeuvring around a usually uneven terrain. Site layout is crucial to ensure a smooth flow or goods, materials and the workforce around it to ensure all remain safe. Correct access controls that accurately record entry and exit along with a comprehensive induction go a long way to maintaining safety on site.

4. Slips, Trips, & Falls

When you consider all the activities going on around the site at any one time it is unsurprising that slips, trips, and falls happen frequently. Construction sites are place of holes in the ground, buildings at various stages of completion, scaffolding, stored materials and equipment: you really do need to have your wits about you at all times. Proper training in the form of briefings and tool box talks can be carried out by site managers to ensure workers are made aware of these dangers in general and that can be unique to each site. These should be recorded in a useable format to ensure everyone has been briefed and the message has been tailored to different workers as well.

5. Noise

Noise is a major hazard on site. Excessive noise causes over a period can cause long term hearing problems and can be a dangerous distraction, the cause of accidents. Employers are required to carry out and document a comprehensive noise risk assessment – and issue appropriate PPE (Protective Protection Equipment).

6. Material & Manual Handling

Materials and equipment is being constantly lifted and moved around on a construction site, whether manually or by the use of lifting equipment. Different trades will involve greater demands, but all may involve some degree of risk. Where employee’s duties involve manual handling, then adequate training must be carried out. Where lifting equipment is used, then adequate training must also be carried out, but may involve some form of test, to confirm competency. Records of training must be maintained for verification and kept up to date.

7. Airborne Fibres & Materials – Respiratory Diseases

Construction sites cause a lot of dust, some of which can be toxic mix of hazardous materials and fibres that can damage the lungs. Often the dust is invisible and fine. Just issuing PPE is not enough…employers have a duty to ensure protective equipment is actually used. Failure to do so could render an employee to disciplinary action and in hot water with the health and safety executive. All this activity needs to be logged in a central location for future reference.

8. Electricity

On average, three construction industry workers are electrocuted each year during refurbishment work on commercial and domestic buildings. People working near overhead power lines and cables are also at risk. There are also a growing number of electrocutions involving workers who are not qualified electricians but who are carrying electrical work, such as plumbers and joiners and decorators. Competencies need to be checked prior to contractors coming on site and off limit areas need to be highlighted as part of the induction process.

Mosaic Software – Making Site Management Easier

Behind every construction project there is a need to successfully induct workers, monitor site access and check competencies. Mosaic does all of this and more via an online Network Passport and Smart Card system. With this system one card really does open up a world of innovative site management possibilities.

Please click here to read more about how we can help you manage your projects