Safety Best Practices

Construction Safety and the Bottom Line

Shannon M Farley @sfarley
Safety & Compliance
5 min read
November 6, 2021

Everyone says that safety is important, but do you know how much a construction accident can cost? Liberty Mutual found in its 2018 Workplace Safety Index that as a whole, businesses spent no less than $1 billion weekly to cover workers’ compensation claims for disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries in 2015. A separate report from the National Safety Council reveals that the total economic costs of work-related injuries and fatalities amounted to $171 billion in 2019.

Considering how companies in the U.S. lose billions of dollars every year due to workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, it’s no surprise that construction safety has become increasingly imperative on every job site.

Construction Safety Means Savings on Health Insurance

Health insurance costs are one of the most evident and direct consequences of construction site accidents and injuries. Without a focus on safety, injury rates are higher, and companies spend far more than necessary.

In 2019, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated the cost of an injury needing medical care was at $42,000, while a single fatality comes with a whopping $1,220,000. In addition to direct expenses associated with injuries, companies deemed liable for incidents pay substantial fines. Just one Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violation—even a non-serious one—may cost no less than $13,000 in penalties. OSHA sets additional fines of $136,532 for willful or repeated infringements. Bear in mind that more often than not, construction-related incidents end in a slew of citations.

A company’s safety policies and procedures are its best defense against injury-related costs. Companies that put an emphasis on comprehensive construction safety programs can mitigate the potential financial impact of workplace accidents and sickness.

High Safety Standards Help A Company’s Branding and Reputation

Major accidents and frequent safety issues can substantially taint a company’s brand and reputation. Clients often conduct extensive research, and the more safety concerns they see in a business, the more they lean towards choosing a competitor.

Therefore, maintaining a positive company brand and reputation necessitates a strong focus on safety and security. After all, it only takes one major accident to seriously tarnish or permanently scar the public’s ​perception of the company. This is the kind of damage that lasts for months, if not years.

But a safety incident can have other potential implications beyond public relations, most notably in terms of securing investors and financiers. Many investors rigorously review health and business safety records before deciding whether or not to grant capital (either in the form of equity or a loan).

Organizations lacking a solid safety culture and record can also struggle to attract new business. In the industrial sector, large multinational corporations demand complete transparency from their partners and contractors regarding workplace safety performance. Before awarding contracts, they often assess the company’s safety scores or grades. In some instances, they may even reject bids from companies that do not meet stringent safety standards.

Therefore, safety awareness and preparation should be an integral part of every organization. Businesses must prioritize safety and security as much as—if not more than—revenue and client feedback.

To avoid job site injury and damage to a company’s image, companies can consider looking into leading indicators. These indications identify potential risk spots, ultimately helping predict how injuries might occur. Leading indicators can take the form of a ratio of safe to dangerous observations of work in progress, the number of completed inspections, or the percentage of corrective measures implemented.

Employees Are Productive and Efficient When They Are Safe

Implementing a safety culture also signals that you company values its employees. This provides employees with a sense of trust in processes, and encourages them to operate the construction site with more confidence.

Workers will always feel doubtful and uncertain about their safety on a job site known for frequent safety slip-ups. And if they believe their environment is unsafe, they are likely to be less engaged at work. Just imagine how they feel seeing a “2” instead of a “532” on the “Days Without Accident” sign. There are also always concerns about being implicated or held partially accountable for incidents when there is no strong safety culture.

All these variables can have a detrimental effect on employee behavior and morale. Frequently occurring incidents can establish a stigma against the business, making it appear unsafe to the public. This in turn impacts workforce retention and recruitment, and overall employee productivity.

When businesses prioritize safety—and communicate this commitment to their employees—they improve loyalty and morale in the workplace. Long periods of injury-free workdays can reassure workers that their employers care about their well-being. If employees are happy and engaged, they generate higher-quality work, translating to a better bottom line.

Additionally, investing in safety will most likely result in more effective recruitment efforts. After all, workplace safety is one of the first things people evaluate when considering job offers.

Strong safety practices can also help mitigate the risks and costs associated with productivity issues due to workplace incidents. Organizations no longer need to shut down to repair equipment, hire and train replacements, or pay overtime as compensation for lost production. In fact, after adopting these safety practices, employers report fewer workdays lost and fewer staffing issues associated with injury-related absences.

Just imagine how they feel seeing a "2" instead of a "532" on the "Days Without Accident" sign.

Prioritize Construction Safety and Save Your Bottom Line With Salus

Construction safety is often a complex aspect of managing a site. But safety software like Salus strives to make ensuring safety on the field more straightforward and efficient.

Salus enables you to digitally process forms, manage certificates, track corrective action items, and monitor safety compliance and assets in real-time. It rids you of labor-intensive and cumbersome paperwork, allowing you to concentrate on maintaining a comprehensive culture of safety in your workplace instead.

To learn more about how Salus can help establish your safety culture and boost your bottom line, schedule a demo today.

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