Construction work can be dangerous and companies cannot rely on common sense to keep workers safe. Safety training is important, even though it can take a little time away from the project.
Nearly 1,000 construction workers were killed in worksite-related accidents in 2016 — 21% of all worker deaths. OSHA attributes the majority of these deaths to the “fatal four”: falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught/in-between. Many of these accidents are preventable. Common sense usually isn’t so common.
By establishing a safety and health program at the job site, contractors and construction companies protect their most valuable assets: their workers. Workers have the right to safe workplace. They have the right to receive information and training to prevent workplace injuries and deaths. OSHA obligates companies to provide proper training. Failure to comply can lead to penalties and fines and subject contractors and owners to liability. OSHA violations can also be used to support claims of negligence or wrongful death.
Proper OSHA training takes time away from the project, but it can actually save money. Apart from the obvious benefit of keeping workers safe, a safe construction site will reduce overall costs. In addition to no lost productivity, OSHA training can reduce insured losses, administrative penalties or fines, and attorney’s fees.
A study in Ohio found that workers’ compensation claims fell dramatically after working with OSHA’s Safety Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Claims fell 88%, the cost per claim dropped 80%, and average time lost per claim dropped 87%. OSHA training does make a difference. In 1970, there were an average of 38 worker deaths in America every day. That number fell to 14 in 2016.
A lack of training can have a huge impact on a job site. It can hurt morale among workers, lead to higher turnovers and decreased productivity, and cause the company’s reputation to take a hit.
Work site safety, and OSHA training, is in everyone’s best interest.