November 1, 2017 | Frank MacDonald |

3 Steps to Improve Construction Safety on Your Site



The construction industry is one of the most important business sectors in North America and one of the biggest contributors to economic growth.

 

Construction Makes Up About 5% of the U.S. Labor Force

But, it accounts for 20% of fatal injuries and has an injury rate of 1 in 30 full-time employees according to the latest numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

construction site in toronto

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and, not coincidentally, improper fall protection was the top OSHA citation in 2017.

Creating proper programs and implementing better practices is an integral part on improving construction safety.

This blog aims to examine the issue and provide solutions to help you prevent injuries at your site.

 

 Construction Safety Survey:

Leading up to this blog, we surveyed 498 of our customers in various industries. We discovered that the construction industry was among the highest for hand injuries.

 

Below are the highlights from what we found:

  • 5.4 hand injuries, on average, per 100 employees annually.
  • Cuts and lacerations was the most reported injury; bruises from impacts was a close second.
  • The average spend for work gloves is $5 and they’re expected to last for 10 days.

 

When we looked at construction companies based on size, we found that companies:

  • With less than 100 employees reported 32 hand injuriesper 100 employees per year.
  • With 100-500 employees reported 6 hand injuriesper 100 employees per year.
  • With over 500 employees reported 0.8 hand injuries per 100 employees per year.

This means that your company is 40 times more likely to record a hand injury if it has under 100 employees versus those with over 500.

 

Click below for more findings.

selecting a work glove for the construction industry

 

The solution is not to hire more employees (obviously).

But surely smaller companies can learn more from their larger counterparts.

We reached out to several national construction companies to see what systems were in place to keep their workers safe.

Here’s what we found…

auger on a construction site

 

Step 1: Make Safety Your Top Priority

Construction sites are busy. It’s a non-stop environment where people are working 10 to 14 hours a day without a break.

The probability of workplace accidents skyrockets with the grueling hours, environmental conditions and fast pace.

But many companies we spoke to boasted about having a minimum of 365-day streaks without a workplace accident.

The common thread between these companies was that they made safety their number one priority. This included steps like:

  • Having regular safety training
  • Emphasizing the importance of PPE
  • Making sure that employees knew what PPE was required for each job.

Most of these companies also had a dedicated safety manager to their site.

Research shows that companies with onsite safety managers are 3.5 times less likely to have accidents than those without a dedicated manager.

These companies promote construction safety and share the common goal that every single person will step off that site in the same condition they step on the site.

construction workers trying gloves on

 

Step 2: Regular Safety Training

Safety training is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce workplace injuries.

Construction safety training can be short, like a toolbox talk at the beginning of the shift.

It can also be more specialized, like fall protection training.

Regardless of the type of safety training, the important thing is that it’s happening regularly.

Studies show that construction workers who receive regular safety training are 12% less likely to be hurt on the job.

Consistency keeps your safety message at the front of workers’ minds and discourages them from cutting corners.

 

Want to learn more?

Read our post 5 Tips for a Better Toolbox Talk.

 

Step 3: Invest in PPE

Ever hear the saying “you get what you pay for?”

It’s true for computers, it’s true for cars and it’s true for personal protective equipment.

Based on our survey results, construction companies spend $5 for safety gloves on average with an expectation that the gloves will last for 10 days.

In our post Cutting Corners Doesn’t Pay: How Quality Work Gloves Save You Money, we identified how simple steps like a laundering program can save you money.

As Derek Coughlin wrote

“Highly engineered work gloves are designed to have better abrasion resistance, which is crucial for getting a longer life cycle out of them. In wear trials, we’ve seen our gloves outlast the competition by 300%. Their glove lasted two wash cycles, our lasted eight, and that translated to an annual savings of $207,000.

Purchasing a high-quality piece of PPE may seem more expensive initially, but if it lasts longer and protects your employees better, it’s better in the long run.

 

Do you know what ‘The Fatal Four’ is?

These accidents cause over 60% of deaths in the construction industry. Click here to find out what they are and how to prevent them.

 

Now What?

The statistics are troubling, but the good news is it’s not impossible to reduce the injuries from 1 in 30.

Reading this blog shows that you’re interested in making a change in your workplace and educating yourself on the issues is an important step.

The next step is starting the safety conversation at your workplace — and make safety your number one priority.

 

When you’re ready for to incorporate safety gloves and sleeves

Visit our construction page to find your best options.

 

Frank MacDonald
About Frank MacDonald

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