On-Site Magazine

Preventing and mitigating worker injury risk

By David Bowcott   

Construction Risk Management

Many reasons, and benefits, to putting a focus on safety and injury reduction practices.

(Photo: Rapeepat Pornsipak / iStock / Getty Images Plus /Getty Images.)

Within the construction industry there should be no greater priority than preventing and reducing the frequency and severity of worker injury. With labour shortages being a primary concern, a focus on the safety of workers can only serve to ensure that those workers who are in the industry remain within the industry.

Additionally, the costs associated with worker injuries continue to rise, whether you are navigating government-led workers compensation insurance programs or a private sector insurance program, the price is becoming a material portion of your organization’s total cost of risk, so reducing worker injury losses can only serve to make your company more competitive.

Finally, there are several insurance studies that have shown companies with low worker injury losses (both frequency and severity) have overall lower insurance claims results in all lines of cover – they also tend to have some of the highest profitability levels. Here are a few ways your organization can focus on optimal management of this risk.

 

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TOP-DOWN, SAFETY FIRST AND SAFETY CULTURE

Leadership of your organization needs to lead by example. Employees at your company need to see that company leadership are demanding that management of worker injury risk be priority number 1. Such prioritization by leadership lays the foundation for a company-wide safety culture.

Through leadership’s prioritization of safety, employees will begin developing a safety culture whereby they think safety first and develop support structures for each other to ensure they have each other’s backs when it comes to safety. As they say, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” meaning if your organization has the right culture, the plans fall into place to create a successful company.

 

DEDICATED SAFETY TEAMS

Having an appropriately staffed team of dedicated safety professionals is absolutely necessary to driving down frequency and severity of worker injury events. This team should have experts who help all employees implement the best safety decisions. While the team is dedicated to safety, everyone in the organization has to have a safety-first mindset. Have your safety team perform regular audits.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT OF REPORTING

With a strong safety culture, driven by support from leadership, employees will feel comfortable reporting safety concerns and incidents without any fear of repercussions. This is vital step in preventing and mitigating worker injury risk.

 

TRAINING

An organization that is successful at managing safety risk needs training. Training sessions need to be regular, thorough, and required for all employees. Training isn’t “one and done;” it is continuous. Safety consultants, insurance company resources and insurance brokers have resources available.

 

INVESTING IN EQUIPMENT

Ensure your company invests in top safety gear and equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and that it is driven to stay on top of advances within the PPE sector and the construction tools and machinery sector.

 

SAFETY CHECKLISTS

Identify the best safety procedures checklists and make them available to all employees in a format that is easy to use and easy to monitor. These checklists can be developed internally, or sourced externally.

 

WELLNESS PROGRAMS

Worker fatigue, stress and addiction can contribute to safety incidents. Organizations that have solutions to help their employees deal with these issues, such as benefits programs and internal resources, will see substantial benefits, including reductions in worker injury events.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Last, but by no means least, there are a myriad of safety technologies available in the market that have demonstrated material reductions in worker injury incidents and costs. Examples of these solutions include project management technology platforms, worker injury data driven AI solutions, worker wearable technologies, reality capture technologies, and technology training solutions. There are even some insurers that provide premium discounts for companies using tech solutions.

 

The above represents a selection of best practices and tools that your organization can use to better tackle the risk of worker injury, but there are other solutions beyond this list. Given the scarcity of workers in the construction economy, you should be strongly encouraged to investigate all solutions to ensure you protect your most precious resource – your talent.

 

David Bowcott

David Bowcott is the managing director, construction, at NFP Corp. Please send comments to editor@on-sitemag.com.

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