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May 02, 2013
Large construction firms doing more to protect workers

Large contractors report widespread use of safety practices, but smaller firms are doing less. That was the conclusion of a new study by McGraw-Hill Construction. Among firms with 500 or more employees, 92 percent reported having full and inclusive safety programs, but only 48 percent of smaller companies reported the same. General contractors adopted safety practices at a higher rate than trade contractors.

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Despite the discrepancy, McGraw-Hill found that there is a high level of awareness of construction safety best practices across the industry. Among those practices are (1) including jobsite workers in the safety practice, (2) analyzing potential site safety hazards in advance, and (3) assigning project safety personnel before construction begins.  Said McGraw-Hill Construction’s Harvey Bernstein, “Our results reveal that the industry knows what to do; it just needs the tools and incentives to do so.”

What leads contractors to invest in safety practices or fail to do so? The report found that business factors like insurance costs and liability concerns play a strong role. But these factors aren’t the only motivation for employers. Nearly 80 percent said that concern over worker health and well-being is driving implementation of safety practices.

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