Top 20 Construction Site Safety Trends

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Hard Hats essential for construction site safety

The construction industry is a potentially dangerous place to work but with the right safety management processes in place it doesn’t have to be. We have collated the top 20 construction site safety trends and statistics and it makes for an interesting read.

Construction professionals need to understand what the current trends in construction site safety management are, so they can be proactive about creating a safe environment for their workers. Site safety is also paramount to ensuring quality assurance as well – when you're working with building materials, every step of the process must go off without incident or injury.

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Injuries and fatalities cost the economy billions of dollars, making construction safety management one of the top priorities for construction projects today.

COVID-19 led to pandemic protocols that included a pause in construction activity for much of 2020. As such, the most recent reliable construction site safety data is found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 2019. The report revealed that fatalities from construction and extraction occupations increased by 6% in 2019 to 1,061 – the highest figure since 2007, making construction the most dangerous industry by virtue of having the most workplace deaths.  The table below gives you some more granular detail:

Construction site fatal injuries stats

(Image source: injuryfacts.nsc.org)

When looking at non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses, there were 79,660 events recorded that resulted in days away from work which is money and time lost:

Construction site non-fatal injuries stats-1

(Image source: injuryfacts.nsc.org)

Important Construction Safety Trends & Statistics

Below is a compilation of the recent construction site safety trends and statistics:

  1. The total number of fatalities in the construction industry has increased over the last 8 years, rising from 738 in 2011 to 1,061 in 2019.
  2. Construction site fatalities are increasing year on yearMost deaths (48.5%) are caused by worker construction, repair, and cleaning activities. 
  3. The Construction industry fatality rate per 100,000 workers has remained steady since 2011, with between 9 and 10 deaths per 100,000 workers per year. 
  4. The construction industry's nonfatal injury and illness rate per 10,000 workers has gradually reduced from a high of 154 in 2013 to 112 in 2019.
  5. The number of construction industry nonfatal injuries and illnesses has remained fairly steady since 2011, oscillating between a low of 73,600 in 2011 and a high of 82,760 in 2016. There were a total of 79,660 nonfatal deaths and injuries in 2019. 
  6. Every year injured workers spend a median of 13 days away from work.
  7. 31.2% of all nonfatal construction injuries occur through falls, trips, and slips.
  8. The most common construction injuries are sprains, strains, and tears (26.5%), soreness and pain (19%), fractures (16.5%), and cuts, lacerations, and punctures (13.7%).
  9. 32.2% of construction-related injuries affect the upper extremities, and 27.5% affect the lower extremities.
  10. Parts and materials cause 19.1% of construction-related injuries, 13.5% by the worker him/herself through error, omission, or mistake, and 13.4% by the worker's motion or position.
  11. 21 workers perished in trench collapses at various construction sites in the US (2019) 
  12. Construction professionals are continuously looking for ways to improve the safety of their workers on site. Construction equipment, like cranes and bulldozers, have been a major focus. New technologies are being developed to equip them with enhanced safety features, so they're less likely to cause injury when used at construction sites. Similarly, there has also been increased interest in using technology such as construction site management software and inspection apps to help improve safety. In a 5-year period from 2014 to 2019, venture capitalists poured more than $25 billion into engineering and construction technology start-ups. Despite these investments, 61% of North American contractors worry that field workers may not accept technology as part of their daily work. 
  13. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only has one compliance officer for every 70,000 workers and approximately 1,850 inspectors to monitor more than 8 million construction sites in the US. 
  14. 92.8% of construction employees use smartphones for their work. As a result, there are improved site communication practices. Construction professionals are making a concerted effort to identify and address the root causes of construction accidents before they happen by having clearer lines of communication between on-site personnel, builders, subcontractors, and owners – all while safeguarding employees' privacy. This is enabling them to be more proactive when it comes to the safety of their employees.
  15. Despite the high smartphone penetration, 45% of construction industry project management workflows still depend on spreadsheets. However, 28% of construction firms are now using mobile apps to view Building information modelling (BIM) files.
  16. Construction is the second-largest personal protective equipment (PPE) end-user industry in the US. There is also increased use of personal protective equipment due to the impact of COVID-19. OSHA continues to create new standards that require employers to provide their workers with PPE and ensure they remain fully protected. 
  17. Despite the construction industry having the highest fatality rate, employees feel that management only does the bare minimum needed to keep them safe. In an employee perception survey, 58% of employees said productivity is prioritized over safety. Roughly one-third of workers also felt that an employee's safety performance was not a consideration during a promotion. 
  18. There is growing involvement and regulation from OSHA in construction site safety. This is a major priority for OSHA. Construction Safety Standards at 29 CFR 1926 and other regulations are being continuously updated to reflect new risks, increasing the compliance burden on construction firms and project owners. 
  19. Doing nothing about construction accidents is 2 to 3 times more expensive than investing in prevention measures. This is according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study that investigated the benefits of seasonal forecasts in reducing construction delays and failures caused by bad weather.

According to the US National Safety council, workplace-related injuries, and fatalities cost the US economy over $171 billion with US insurance companies paying over $1.2 billion in workers' compensation benefits weekly.

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Improving Construction Site Safety

FTQ360 is a construction inspection app and quality management software that can help construction professionals improve construction site safety and quality assurance. Construction managers can use FTQ360 for compliance and risk verification, reducing defects and deficiencies, enhancing overall project quality, and increasing operational efficiency.

Our innovative construction management solution comes with a mobile app allowing construction professionals to record inspection data while in the field. This data flows into a cloud-based construction safety management system, where it is accessible by other team members and project stakeholders.

The FTQ360 Construction Safety Performance Dashboard provides managers with a visual representation of their construction site's safety performance to help them identify and prioritize risks, manage incidents more effectively, and improve overall construction site management practices.

For more information on how to move away from antiquated inspection and quality management practices and achieve first-time quality, start your free trial today.

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