Construction Sector Research For Health And Safety Management Systems
Occupational injury is a significant concern in the construction industry — the potential for lost productivity, liability issues or worse is always present when working with heavy machinery and other dangerous equipment. Ultimately, these factors affect both your bottom line and your ability to get the job done. As a result, the drive to build more safety-oriented working cultures in the construction industry is as much a financial one as it is a human resources issue.
The Scope Of The Problem
Safety in the construction industry is a problem all around the globe. For example, just over 16 percent of the world's fatal construction accidents occur in India. In the UK, approximately 64,000 non-fatal injuries occur each year in the construction industry, and 49 percent of the country's fatal accidents are the result of falls from a height.
In the United States, the construction industry employs an estimated 10.3 million workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Some of the most common hazards these workers face include:
- Working at height
- Working with electricity
- Working around heavy equipment
- Working with power tools
About 79 percent of workers are exposed to these and other hazards on a weekly basis, leading to 9.7 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers each year. As well, 1.5 percent of full-time workers will suffer nonfatal injuries on the job, though the Center for Construction Research and Training (CCRT) suggests these statistics may be skewed by underreporting.
In addition to injuries and accidents, construction workers face several long-term occupational hazards, including the potential for hearing loss and chronic respiratory problems due to exposure to noise and hazardous substances, respectively.
What Is A Culture Of Safety?
While it's easy to say safety is important, it's more difficult to know what an effective safety culture looks like. Working safely on the job involves many aspects:
- Reducing exposure to risks
- Ensuring employees are trained to work in potentially dangerous environments
- Providing staff with appropriate safety equipment
- Ensuring all tools and equipment are serviced regularly and working properly
- Implementing standardized incident reporting and escalating processes
- Making sure employees know who to talk to when something occurs
- Conducting thorough investigations and taking corrective action to prevent the issue from recurring
- Making sure all staff are invested in on-the-ground safety
- Soliciting meaningful engagement from management and executives around safety issues
Each job is different — flexible and scalable processes are necessary to adapt to changing work requirements. That's where a health and safety management system comes in.
How Management Systems Can Help
Health and safety management systems are formalized plans that provide a structured approach to risk assessment and harm reduction. They involve defining individual authority and responsibility for various safety tasks, and monitoring outcomes using quantifiable metrics. When designed and implemented properly, a health and safety management system will support a cycle of continuous improvement, where the organization continues to strengthen its overall resiliency while meeting changing regulatory requirements and growing sustainably.
About ISO 45001
ISO 45001:2018 is the International Organization for Standardization's newly published health and safety management system. It replaced the outgoing OHSAS 18001, building on that system's strengths while doing more to align health and safety with an organization's broader goals.
ISO 45001 is a globally recognized standard. Though the ISO designed it to apply to all industries, it offers significant benefits to construction companies and related businesses.
Benefits Of ISO 45001 Certification For The Construction Industry
To remain competitive, construction companies must run tight budgets and turn around jobs quickly. Often, the safety of the crew is an afterthought. With ISO 45001, however, safety works in tandem with quality management, cost control and other business goals, allowing you to:
- Reduce the number of workplace incidents and related staff absences, keeping your productivity up and your liability costs down
- Reduce delays around reporting and other paperwork, both by minimizing incidents and by streamlining the review process
- Build a culture of safety that engages employees and demonstrates to them that their health matters to your business
- Position your business to meet current and future regulatory challenges, or move into new territories or sectors with varying compliance requirements
- Establish ready-made safety credentials that are valued by businesses and government agencies, and can give you an edge when competing for big jobs
- Increase transparency and develop mutually beneficial relationships with subcontractors, suppliers and other partners
- Potentially lower your insurance rates
Best of all, with ISO 45001, you can do the above while still maintaining the same high standards for quality and speed. Like all ISO systems, ISO 45001 is scalable to grow with your business, positioning you for long-term success in an increasingly competitive industry.
Getting Started With ISO 45001
ISO 45001 differs from OHSAS 18001 in its emphasis on risk-based thinking and its high-level integration with other ISO standards. If you're already certified to OHSAS 18001, NQA can perform a gap analysis that outlines the steps you need to take to comply with the newer standard. If you don't have a formal health and safety management system yet, the process begins with an initial application, which is followed by an assessment. The final step is an audit, or the start of certification, from our team.
Get started by contacting NQA to request a quote today. Submit a request using our online form, or call us for assistance.