The Cost of Safety in the Construction Industry

Construction safety is a crucial aspect of the industry. If safety isn’t continually practiced, there can be severe consequences. But sometimes, safety can be seen as a hindrance to business or a formality that isn’t always necessary. We want to challenge that notion and find the actual cost of working safely versus working unsafely in the construction industry.

Safety accounts for the direct protection of workers. Worker safety means that team members are properly trained on how to use their equipment and safely navigate structure and infrastructure construction and excavation. If facilities or infrastructure are damaged, the job site’s safety is threatened, which can lead to worker injury and substantial direct and indirect costs.

What are the Greatest Threats to Worker Safety?

In the United States, The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) serves as one of the biggest enforcers of worker protection. They are the government agency that creates and enforces safety guidelines and st

In the United States, The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) serves as one of the biggest enforcers of worker protection. They are the government agency that creates and enforces safety guidelines and standards. If companies do not follow OSHA’s regulations, OSHA can impose civil penalties of thousands of dollars.

According to OSHA, the following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in the fiscal year 2021:

Fall Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)

Respiratory Protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)

Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)

Hazard Communication, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)

Scaffolding, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)

Fall Protection Training, construction (29 CFR 1926.503)

Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)

Eye and Face Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.102)

Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)

Machinery and Machine Guarding, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212)

Workers in the construction industry will face most of these hazards weekly. OSHA reported 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019 — on average, more than 100 a week or about 15 deaths every day. About 20% (1,061) of worker fatalities in the private industry in 2019 were in construction, accounting for one in five worker deaths.

Construction incidents are severely hazardous to workers and have both direct and indirect costs. Medical and workers comp expenses are among the highest direct costs from construction incidents. According to OSHA, U.S. companies pay $1,000,000,000+ in workers’ compensation per week for non-fatal disabling injuries. Safe practices can help mitigate those costs and protect team members.

According to one study, for companies that invest 2.5% of a project’s cost into safety procedures and training, project profits increase by 4%-7%.

Proper safety procedures must be developed, but what can you do today? How can we help keep safety at the forefront of our team members’ minds?

Toolbox Talks

Our toolbox talks are one of the ways we support safety at GPRS. Our toolbox talks are 20-minute presentations that share tips and insights on how to keep your crews safe.

Toolbox talks and safety presentations do have a positive effect on site safety, according to an article published by SafetyTek. According to data, moving from a monthly meeting to a daily session can reduce Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) by up to 85%. By increasing the frequency of toolbox talks from weekly to daily, TRIR can be reduced by up to 72.8%.

Concrete Sawing & Drilling Safety Week provides construction workers with an opportunity to focus on safety practices. It’s an easy way to help your team members learn something new and refocus on best practices. Are you interested in scheduling a toolbox talk? Schedule your presentation today!

Subsurface Strikes and Accidents

While there are many ways to support safety, GPRS is most invested in subsurface damage prevention. We can prevent needless team member injury, dangerous utility exposure, and expensive damage reparations by preventing subsurface strikes and accidents. Keeping team members safe is our first priority, but by keeping our workers safe we also consequently avoid expensive utility strikes.

What Can a Utility Strike Cost You?

The Common Ground Alliance’s annual DIRT (Damage Information Reporting Tool) Report estimates that utility lines and other underground infrastructure damages cost up to $30 billion in the United States in 2019. Additionally, excavation-related damages accounted for $532,000. 

The following is the average cost of repairing specific utilities damaged by negligent subsurface excavations:

  • Electric Line – $4,905
  • Natural Gas Line – $5,914
  • Telecom Line – $3,022
  • Water Line – $3,003
  • Sewer Line – $5,163
  • Cable TV Line – $2,190

Hire a SIM-Certified Locator

But how can you guarantee that your private utility locators perform their job adequately? By hiring a SIM-certified locator, you’re ensuring a quality subsurface investigation.

SIM stands for Subsurface Investigation Methodology. SIM is an industry standard that ensures subsurface scanning experts are scanning for subsurface damage prevention adequately. SIM requires all Project Managers to be equipment experts. SIM-compliant locating contractors must be experts in multiple locating technologies. In addition, SIM specifies the need for additional training. SIM certification requires a minimum of 8 weeks of field mentoring and two weeks of classroom training. Furthermore, SIM requires its Project Managers to know the most effective methodologies.

Schedule a Project Today

GPRS specializes in ground penetrating radar, video pipe inspection, and mapping and modeling services. Our Project Managers have the equipment and expertise to handle all subsurface challenges presented. GPRS does this by utilizing various equipment paired with their industry-leading SIM process.

So don’t wait. Click here to schedule a project with GPRS and allow our highly trained Project Managers to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.