Working in the construction industry has its hazards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for more than one in three (36.4%) of the total number of fatalities in the industry. And it is not just falls that construction workers need to watch out for. In 2022, OSHA released its top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards:
- Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260 violations
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,424
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,185
- Ladders (1926.1053): 2,143
- Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,058
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,977
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,749
- Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,556
- Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,401
- Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,370
All of these hazards make construction safety a 365-day-a-year initiative, but the new year does provide an opportunity to take a fresh look at your safety practices and even set up a plan to reach a zero-injury workplace.
What is a Zero-Injury Workplace?
A zero-injury workplace is a workplace without any worker injuries – zip, none. The National Academy of Construction (NAC) states there are many reasons why injuries occur but only one cause: engaging in some form of “at-risk behavior” either by leaders or crafts. The NAC does recognize that safety specialists have some problems with achieving a zero-injury workplace.
- It’s statistically impossible to achieve zero injury results due to ever-present risks and human error.
- It doesn’t account for safety incidents that don’t result in injuries.
- Having a zero-injury goal could lead to employees not reporting injuries or management falsifying injury classifications.
- Zero time lost injury ignores restricted duty, job transfer and first aid cases.
NAC does have responses for all of these issues to help construction companies that may be resistant to embrace a zero-injury strategy.
- When all employees are personally focused on working safely, all incidents can be prevented more effectively. Personal focus helps both workers and leaders automatically promote the avoidance of at-risk behavior.
- Zero isn’t statistically impossible for the short term. And focusing on zero injuries in the short term can improve performance in the long term.
- There is never a good reason not to report an injury and it’s a leader’s responsibility to create a culture of safety to prevent injuries and eliminate at-risk behaviors.
- Zero as a lost time injury goal statement is just the first step in the chain of progressive zero injury goals. As construction companies find success achieving zero time lost injuries, they’ll be able to begin setting zero recordable goals and eventually progress to a zero harm goal.
How Can Companies Achieve a Zero-Injury Workplace?
A zero-injury workplace is a great goal for every construction company but achieving it may be a different story. A zero-injury workplace includes three parts: content, process and culture. According to NAC, your content is administered by your process, which yields your culture. A company that thoroughly addresses safety through well-developed processes will ultimately have a culture that makes safety a top priority.
Technology plays an instrumental part in achieving a zero-injury workplace culture. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), employers can use environment, health and safety software and mobile applications to enhance their safety operations to prevent serious injuries and fatalities on the job. The NSC published a white paper on the topic which looked at the benefits of EHS software in the categories of risk management and hazard identification, permit management, incident management and safety auditing.
But HR software can make an impact towards achieving a zero-injury workplace as well, like with safety training. A learning management system or LMS helps construction safety by offering accessible and engagement training and it gives construction companies needed flexibility when it comes to workplace safety training. An LMS is used to both house and deliver training, and it can work on a computer, kiosk or mobile device – so workers can train while on the jobsite if need be. Employees can complete required training and update certifications from their mobile devices or computers 24/7, and the LMS records completion and any certifications. For OSHA safety requirements, construction companies can pair their LMS with approved training developed by industry experts, such as ClickSafety. These courses are already OSHA-approved and are automatically updated. Plus, they are available in multiple languages to ensure workers receive the most impactful training.
Conducting toolbox talks can also help construction companies achieve a zero-injury workplace. More for safety maintenance and specifics rather than a high-level overview, toolbox talks can be held monthly, weekly or even daily to help create and reinforce a culture of safety at your company. Toolbox talks provide the perfect opportunity to discuss occupational safety with your workers, provide training updates, or discuss safety measures that will help you stay compliant with state or federal OSHA regulations.
ExakTime can also help you monitor safety by alerting you to which workers are on-site for situations that may be dangerous, like bad weather. .
Arcoro understands the importance of field safety for construction companies and contractors, and we offer a suite of best-in-class services that can help you keep your workers safe and manage risk and compliance.
Contact us to learn more about monitoring your crews’ actions and activities effectively today.