According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics/Department of Labor Sept. 11 report, construction fatalities decreased slightly in 2013, and fatalities in the industry have dropped 36 percent since 2006. There were 796 workplace deaths in the private construction industry in 2013 and 806 in 2012. That translates into a 2013 fatality rate of 9.4 per 100,000 workers, down from 9.5 in 2012.
“While we welcome the news that fatality numbers have dropped 36 percent since 2006, ABC strongly believes that even one fatality is too many,” said ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman. “We are committed to helping our members reach zero-incident jobsites and will reach that goal through the safety culture, systems and processes included in our Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) and Safety Academies.”
ABC has many safety programs available to its members to help reach its goal of zero-incident jobsites, including STEP.
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 2013, ABC launched 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 STEP Plus Safety Excellence Academy, offered at ABC National and chapter events nationwide, helps to explain the concepts of STEP Plus and how they can be incorporated to develop a world-class safety culture and program.
In addition, ABC is a founding partner 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 www.drugfreeconstruction.org 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.