New report emphasizes bottom-line benefits of increasing your investment in safety

July 8, 2013  |  Best Practices

Construction contractors: Why increase your investment in safetyMcGraw-Hill's new Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report reveals that contractors are seeing significant positive impacts from investing in strong safety management programs. The data paint a striking picture:

  • 50% report a decrease in project schedules of 1 week
  • 73% report a decrease in project budget of 1% or more, with 24% noting a decrease of more than 5%
  • 73% report an increase in project return on investment (ROI) of 1% or more, with 20% noting an increase of greater than 5%
  • 71% of respondents saw a reduction in the incidence of reportable injuries

Justifying a greater investment in safety

The report concludes that investing in safety is a no-brainer for contractors:

justifying an increased investment in safety"Given the relatively low cost of instituting safety practices, these benefits can help drive companies, especially smaller (contracting) firms, to justify greater investments in their safety management programs."

According to McGraw-Hill's research, large contracting firms tend to adopt safety practices and policies more widely than small firms. 92% of survey respondents reported that they have safety programs that are "fully inclusive and widely observed." The percentage of small firms (with 10 employees or less) was just over half of that (48%).

Top drivers of safety investment

Among the top drivers for increased investment in safety cited by survey participants were:

  • Worker health and well-being (79%)
  • High insurance costs (78%)
  • Liability concerns (77%)

The report points out that job site accidents can cause high dollar losses caused by injuries, higher insurance rates and significant business disruptions, not to mention that the firm's reputation will be tarnished, making it harder to attract new business. This last factor apparently loomed large in the minds of survey participants, because 82% said that having a well-developed safety management program has improved their reputation, while two-thirds (66%) cited an improved ability to contract new work as a result of their safety commitment.

What practices contribute to superior safety performance? Large contractors, which tend to have the most pervasive safety management programs, cited these as the most effective practices they use on projects to promote safety:

  • Including job site workers in safety processes (86%)
  • Analyzing potential site safety hazards prior to construction (89%)
  • Establishing an open-door policy for workers to report hazards (86%)
  • Conducting regular project safety audits with foremen and workers (81%)
  • Appointing, assigning or authorizing safety personnel to each project (78%)
  • Developing a site-specific HASP (Health and Safety Plan) (75%)
  • Implementing a site-specific training program for workers (69%)
  • Conducting thorough near-miss and incident investigations (68%)

For more details, download a free copy of McGraw-Hill's new Safety Management in the Construction Industry report.


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