Safety Research Identifies Effective Leading Indicators for Construction Work
The large construction projects with the lowest injury rates are most often the projects using several different methods to measure the success of their safety programs, according to a study published June 11.
The report, “Construction Safety Best Practices and Relationships to Safety Performance,” looked at the effectiveness of dozens of “passive” and “active” leading indicators of safety at building projects. The study appears in the online edition of the American Society of Civil Engineers‘ Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
Passive indicators include programs intended to protect workers, such as owner approval of safety plans and mandating all employees wear steel-toe boots. Active indicators measure effectiveness of safety efforts, such as what percentage of worker orientation meetings the project manager participates in, or whether workers' “stop work” calls are ever ignored.
Safety experts have been increasingly calling for employers to adopt leading indicators instead of measuring success based on “lagging” indicators—such as a project's injury rate—that may not become apparent until work is completed. A common thread through the report's recommendations is the involvement of owners and supervisors, to
show workers at all levels a commitment to safety.