It’s no secret: Going through all the time-consuming procedures and paperwork involved in safety training can be an unbelievable hassle. Its benefits usually don’t show up the day after, so safety training can often feel like a waste of time and energy that could be spent on the job site.
After all, you don’t show up in the morning thinking, “Awesome! We’re going to get a lot of safety done today!” No, you show up to put in a hard day’s work, get paid for a job well done, and head to where the home fires burn.
But perhaps there might be something to all this hassle, which is just hard to notice. Perhaps safety training actually does pay off… and more importantly, it actually keeps people safe.
The statistics appear to indicate that this is certainly the case. If you’re not emphasizing safety training, then you might be sacrificing more than you might realize.
Fact: The Danger Is Real
Just in time for the 7th annual Construction Safety Day this year on April 23, Viewpoint produced an useful and sobering infographic, which shows just how dangerous the job site can truly be. Its main emphasis was on what is known as the Fatal Four. They go in order of lethalness:
#2: Getting caught between objects
#4: Getting struck by an object
The kicker is that 36 percent of all instances involving this Fatal Four lineup come from falls. This stands to reason, because construction workers use towering, large equipment and do their handiwork on rooftops, often several stories high — and when gravity takes hold, it doesn’t stop until the hard ground is reached.
But what the infographic doesn’t necessarily show is often what influences these injuries. OHSA produced a study that detailed what kinds of firms and what demographic factors often have a “disproportionate” influence on the high amount of injury cases. Here’s what they found:
- The average age of the employees (younger)
- The average length of time employees are on the job (new employees)
- The size of the firm (medium-sized firms often have more cases)
If your firm, construction company, workshop, etc., fits into any of the above categories, you might want to consider stepping up your safety training efforts.
But where things get interesting is when we look at how the top of the Fatal Four roster, falls, can substantively be influenced by proper safety training.
How Safety Training DOES Pay Off
BenthamScience.com published an e-book detailing a study discussing this very issue, called “Does Safety Training Reduce Work Injury in the United States?,” a fairly straightforward title, I might add.
The answer? Yes.
On page 12 of the study, it says effective workplace safety training does have an impact on injuries. The specific type of injury it found had been reduced was, you guessed it, falls.
What can we learn from this? Simply put, if you cover your training, then you will be active in the process of reducing instances of the top Fatal Four killer, which is falls.
The really interesting part is when this translates over to how much firms and companies can actually save through safety training. OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Programs white paper spells this out. While they list several states, let’s check out the top 2 construction states, California and Texas (according to the Viewpoint infographic).
- After five years of implementing safety and prevention training, cases dropped by 19 percent in California.
- The kicker was Texas, which actually showed an average drop in injuries by 63 percent.
If you manage or own a construction firm, then you will possibly see several long-term benefits, which will correspond to the overall health of your company:
- You will see reduced insurance liabilities.
- You will see reduced costs for retraining of new employees, because another suffered an injury that could have been prevented through proper training.
- You will see improved employee morale, because dangerous workplaces increase stress.
- Overall, proper implementation of these prevention programs could result in U.S. firms saving up to $23 billion per year.
Regularly conducting safety training and following OSHA policies and procedures will not only help your bottom line, but it’s been proven to save lives. Safety training is not just prevention … it’s an investment in your company’s future.
James White works with Viewpoint to create content that helps the construction industry become safer and more efficient and wrote this post for BlueVolt in honor of Washington’s Construction Safety Day.