According to the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each year, construction continues to be the most dangerous industry in the country. The 2015 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries was released just a few months ago, and there were 937 recorded worker deaths. That’s a 4 percent year-over-year increase from 2014 and the largest number since 2008.
What's most shocking is that there were 4,379 worker fatalities across all industries in 2015, which means construction makes up more than 21 percent of all deaths. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four leading causes of these deaths: falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught in or between. By eliminating these "fatal four" causes, 602 lives could be saved every year.
It's important to note that this only includes fatal injuries. There are tens of thousands of additional cases involving moderate to serious injuries to construction workers. When you zoom out and look at the alarming rate of both fatal and nonfatal injuries, it becomes evident just how important construction safety training programs are to these professionals and their organizations.
Editor's Note: Looking for the right fork lift? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
The importance of construction safety training programs
When most people hear the term "safety training," they immediately picture sitting in a boring conference room and listening to someone ramble on while pointing at cheesy PowerPoint slides. But when you consider just how dangerous today's construction work sites can be, it becomes apparent that safety training is nothing to scoff at. For employees and construction companies, safety training programs are exceptionally important. Here are a few of the specific benefits:
1. Fewer accidents
First and foremost, the presence of safety training programs dramatically reduces the frequency of job site accidents. Not only does this keep workers safer and prevent tragedies from happening, but it also keeps construction companies out of costly legal trouble. It's a good situation for everyone involved.
2. Better-quality work
When workers understand how to operate certain machinery, confront hazardous situations and keep an eye out for different risk factors, they ultimately become more proficient at what they do. This leads to better work and fewer issues with quality. As a result, jobs get completed faster and the company earns a reputation for doing good work.
3. Increased productivity
"OSHA compliance impacts the bottom line," construction expert Nicole Ghedini explains. "Compliant work sites have fewer job-related illnesses and injuries. Less illness and injury means less medical payouts and fewer costs associated with disability compensation. Additionally, worker absences are lessened, meaning productivity may remain optimal."
For companies that currently struggle to meet productivity milestones, safety training is not a deterrent – it's actually an aid. While it may take time away from other tasks on the front end, the long-term payout is huge.
4. Fewer penalties
OSHA is able to conduct random compliance checks with little or no notice. If an organization fails to meet certain standards, OSHA can assess costly fines and penalties right away. While things happen and workers don't always follow protocol, safety training programs go a long way toward improving compliance and avoiding costly penalties.
5. More skilled workers
Ultimately, construction safety training programs help workers become safer and more skilled. This benefits them throughout their careers and leads to fewer accidents and issues, which often means better opportunities. As a result, workers feel more satisfied in their jobs and are more likely to stay with their companies for longer periods.
Choosing the right construction safety training program
From a company perspective, there are lots of different safety training programs to choose from. While a lot depends on your budget and the type of training you need your employees to complete, some options are better than others. At the very least, you have to make sure that the programs you choose are compliant with OSHA and industry requirements. OSHA actually offers a number of its own training materials, so be sure to check them out.
Putting safety first
A lot goes into running a successful construction company, but worker safety is a major concern. At a time when fatal injuries are on the rise, you can't afford to take this issue lightly. Construction safety training must be a major priority.