By: Steve Conway, Pyramid Construction Services, LLC, A Quandel Company, ABC Keystone 2023 Chair of the Board
Developing a Culture of Safety
Construction workplace safety is arguably the most critical part of our businesses. By its nature, construction is inherently a dangerous occupation. Day in and day out, our construction workforce is installing the infrastructure of tomorrow. These job sites are fraught with potential risks to the well-being of our workforce. Our industry has transformed immensely since the turn of the 20th century, most notably in 1970 when the Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law to ensure safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training. Since the inception of OSHA, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65%. But having OSHA standards isn’t enough to ensure your workforce and trade partners go home safe and healthy at the end of the workday. As leaders in this industry, we must be committed to developing and nurturing a safety culture in our organizations.
What is ABC doing to assist its members in taking safety to the next level? In 1989, ABC National founded the STEP (Safety Training Evaluation Process) as a safety benchmarking and improvement tool. Firms that participate measure their processes and policies on 25 key components to implement or enhance safety programs that reduce job site incidents. The key components are divided into four categories: Leadership Commitment, Culture, Process, and Results. Participants rank their safety process based on their level of commitment to each component. The process is meant to be used to improve your safety culture and drive down the chance of incidents. STEP allows you to analyze your safety and loss program, learn industry best practices, and benchmark your performance against similar companies and industry averages. The proof is in the pudding. ABC compiles the data collected annually and compares the results to the BLS average for the construction industry. The average STEP participant is 2.5 times safer than the BLS average, and the top-tier STEP participants are more than six times safer.
New to STEP in 2023 is the addition of the 26th key component, Total Human Health. So, what is Total Human Health? Total Human Health encompasses actions, initiatives, and policies emphasizing workers’ health, well-being, and livelihoods by incorporating a whole-person approach to engage a person’s body, mind, heart, and soul. Workforce safety can no longer be focused solely on bodily injury. It must encompass the overall well-being of each individual. When employees are experiencing physical or mental health challenges, the effect on their job performance and productivity can be just as dangerous as common construction site hazards.
Developing a strong culture of safety is critical to your company’s success and something that we owe to our workforce. ABC equips its members with the tools and resources to develop or augment a thriving safety culture. If you are not currently participating in STEP, I highly encourage you to consider it. It’s free to all member Contractors and Suppliers. It’s a minimal commitment for a significant return.
Posted April 3, 2023