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Safety survey: Worker involvement, supervisor leadership drive metrics

Sources: Dodge Data & Analytics, New York; CP staff

The latest Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report reinforces prior series findings on the high priority of accident prevention while placing new emphasis on the importance of supervisors’ onsite actions and leadership in promoting safety. Prepared with participation from CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training plus information technology developer Procore, the report reflects findings from biennial Dodge Data & Analytics contractor surveys. 

Laborers and chiefs dominate four factors selected by the highest percentage of contractors as world-class safety program essentials: jobsite worker involvement (84 percent); strong safety leadership abilities in supervisors (83 percent); regular safety meetings with workers and supervisors (82 percent); and, ongoing access to safety training for supervisors and jobsite workers (77 percent). They rank far above other important factors such as regular safety audits (67 percent), having staff positions devoted to safety (61 percent), or regular safety meetings among staff at the corporate level (62 percent). 

Survey findings also show that contractors rely on their supervisors and foremen to deliver safety training to jobsite workers: 73 percent of respondents selected that channel as the means by which they provide training, almost 50 percent more than those selecting the second most popular option of using an in-house trainer. The industry therefore needs to make sure supervisors and foremen can provide the safety leadership needed onsite, report authors note, adding that the industry tools to do so are not being fully utilized. 

The report also looks at the tools to improve safety management, from the use of safety policies and organizational practices to training practices. The most popular safety policies are the site-specific ones, including creating site-specific safety and health plans and training programs for all employees and subcontractors. While most contractors (66-plus percent) encourage workers to react to and report hazards onsite, far fewer ask workers for input on safety conditions (50 percent) or involve workers in safety planning (39 percent). 

The Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2020 SmartMarket Report also includes case studies on building a data-driven safety program and improving safety culture, along with features on substance use disorder, ergonomics, and using virtual reality for safety training. It is available for free download at www.construction.com/toolkit/reports.