Money, training, and inspiration comprise the cornerstones of pragmatic construction safety plans and fall prevention programs that are instrumental in bringing down incidences of fall-related fatalities and injuries.
Researchers at School of Health Sciences, Purdue University, conducted a study to find out the specific aspects of construction safety programs of large firms which contributed the most towards decreased falls rate vis-à-vis the smaller units. The research concluded that as the project cost surged, the fall rate plummeted. The researchers contacted a total of 25 firms that did not undertake construction projects valued at less than $1 million out of which only 16 participated in the survey.
Larger companies had fewer losses
All the 16 construction companies surveyed were awarded contracts averaging at $9 million. The median EMR (experience modification ratio) of these companies was 0.73 which was much less than the EMRs of other firms in the construction sector. If the EMR figure is less than 1, it is an indication that the firm is incurring fewer losses (owing to illnesses and injuries resulting from work), vis-à-vis other similar companies.
Insurance companies take advantage of the EMR tool for calculating workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Alternatively, firms that had a safety program in place for a longer period of time were also less likely to suffer huge losses. The cost factor was a significant consideration when it came to training workers or using safety equipment for fall prevention.
The companies reviewed spent $800 and $250 on average per annum for training and safety equipment respectively and these amounts were much less than the costs arising out of fall-related injuries and deaths.
The salient factors
The firms listed 5 crucial factors which spurred them to execute their existing safety programs. These factors were (in order of priority): employees’ wellbeing, profitability, high EMR and pressure from the insurance firms, company goodwill, and observance of OSHA regulations. Money was inextricably connected to these 5 elements.
The establishments were also asked to prioritize significant aspects of their fall prevention program that enabled them to lessen occurrences of slips from great heights. The aspects entailed daily crew meetings, accountability and safety awareness, routine onsite training, instruction of line supervisors, and concern of the top-level management for workers’ safety. That money was allocated for executing the safety program and also attendance of upper management in important meetings was concrete proof that the executive board wanted the program to be implemented.
Money, motivation, and training
Three crucial factors that played a vital role in successfully implementing the fall prevention/construction safety program were money, motivation, and training. It was chiefly the upper-level management’s commitment to keeping falls and slips to a minimum that made the safety plan a success. That commitment encouraged the workers, supervisors, and middle managers to abide by the safety rules and regulations.
Effective training of line supervisors and construction workers was also critical for preventing accidents and mishaps at work sites. Companies have to apportion funds for starting training programs-so money is an important factor as well. The firms have come to realize by experience that safety of those directly involved with/in a construction project was indispensable for sustaining profitability.
Picture Credit: Itasca Community Library