Contractors Who Invest More in Safety Achieve Better Bottom-Line Results


According to the results of a new survey, contractors who invest more in worker safety achieve better bottom-line results than contractors who spend less on safety.

More than 250 contractors participated in the survey, Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry, which was produced by The Center for Construction Research and Training, and United Rentals, along with 12 other supporting and contributing organizations.

Researchers measured contractors on 33 leading indicators to determine their place on the spectrum of safety culture. Those who scored higher on the safety culture spectrum reported greater business benefits from their safety investments than contractors who scored on the lower end of the spectrum. Specifically:

  • Improved project quality: 88% (high end) versus 56% (low end)
  • Improved staff retention: 79% (high end) versus 45% (low end)
  • Increased project return on investment: 75% (high end) versus 38% (low end)
  • Greater ability to attract new staff: 67% (high end) versus 27% (low end).

Researchers compared the results from this survey to those of a similar one conducted in 2012 and found that contractors are reporting more benefits from their investments in safety management practices in general and that there’s wider recognition of the importance of actively engaging jobsite workers to improve project safety.

“The findings make a strong case for companies to actively nurture a strong safety culture at their organization,” says Stephen Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights Research at Dodge Data & Analytics. “The leading indicators featured in the report also provide a roadmap that companies can use to improve the safety culture at their companies, in areas like management commitment to safety, embracing safety as a fundamental company value and worker involvement in jobsite safety.”

The report on the survey and its findings also includes:

  • The most widely used indicators of a safety culture in the construction industry;
  • Trends in safety training, including online training; and
  • The most effective means of communicating safety messages to workers (toolbox talks continue to grow in influence).

For example, the top five most effective safety practices were:

  1. Enforcing the use of PPE
  2. Conducting job hazard/job safety analyses before construction beings
  3. Providing functional PPE
  4. Including jobsite workers in the safety process
  5. Establishing site-speci­fic training programs for supervisors, workers and specialty contractors.