Construction Fatalities Rise in 2012

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics/Department of Labor Aug. 22 report, construction fatalities increased 5 percent in 2012, marking the first increase in six years. According to the report, there were 775 workplace deaths in the private construction industry in 2012 and 738 in 2011. That translates into a 2012 fatality rate of 9.5 per 100,000 workers, up from 9.1 in 2011

ABC’s goal is to eliminate fatalities and injuries throughout the construction industry.  As part of that effort, ABC has many safety programs available to its members, including STEP.

The Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) allows member contractors to regularly evaluate and strengthen their programs, yielding safety performance that is consistently better than the industry average.  When compared with national construction averages, ABC members that participate in STEP have fatality rates that are 58 percent lower, OSHA injury rates that are 30 percent lower, and 90 percent fewer OSHA citations.     

In 2014, ABC will launch the STEP Plus program, designed to systemically enhance a company’s safety and health program to achieve world-class performance.  STEP Plus engages companies through leadership’s commitment to safety as a core value; top-down cultural transformation to develop a “safety identity;” and transformative systems and processes designed to address hazard identification and abatement protocols to eliminate potential incidents before they occur.  The program is currently in the testing phase and will be presented to ABC members in late 2013.

In addition, ABC is one of the founding partners of the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace (CCDAFW). One-third of accidents on construction jobsites occur as a result of substance abuse. To achieve the goal of having an industry that is world class in safety, workers must have a work environment free of drugs and alcohol.

In the interest of achieving this goal, ABC, Associated General Contractors of America, the Construction Industry Round Table, the Construction Users Roundtable and Women Construction Owners and Executives joined forces to create the CCDAFW.

CCDAFW has proposed a minimum set of standards in drug and alcohol policies and testing, and is engaging industry leaders, owners/users, unions, trade associations, insurance carriers and regulatory organizations to have these standards adopted by the construction industry.

Construction contractors are asked to take a pledge on that states their companies will take reasonable action to create and maintain a workplace free from substance abuse and will work to increase awareness of the dangers of substance abuse within the workplace and throughout the construction industry.
The coalition’s website also features a sample policy that employers can edit to fit their company needs and local/state laws, in addition to a “Best Practices” section with recommended policies and procedures that companies can incorporate into their substance abuse policies. 

Don’t forget to check out the training offered by ABC’s chapters and ABC’s Safety Resources and Best Practices.