Four Ways You Can Help With Construction’s Biggest Issues

Even with OSHA’s best efforts, construction industry fatalities are stagnant—at 10 out of every 100,000 workers since 2011. 1,008 funerals occurred in 2020 alone due in part to the “Fatal Four” causes: falls; strikes by an object or equipment; electrocutions and being caught in-between objects. These alarming numbers reflect on weak enforcement regulations which need more attention if we want to save lives going forward. The reality is that OSHA just doesn’t have the money and manpower to enforce more fines (or even collect the money from already enforced fines) and use the tools at its disposal to prevent more injuries and deaths.

So, with this information, what can your company do to make improvements on a practical level? Follow along with our solutions below to see what steps you can implement today for a better 2023.

Problem: Weak enforcement by OSHA.

Solution: Strong enforce in your company. Hold your company to higher standards. Enforce high safety standards for all employees. Why wait for OSHA to reprimand you? Keep standards high and avoid injuries, fines and all the other hassles that come with not having proper safety guidelines.

Problem: Low demands from contractors.

Solution: Demand that your contractors have higher standards. Go with a company that values safety. Do not look out only for the cheapest contractors, look for companies with a good reputation for safety. This may seem difficult to implement but could save not only lives but can also save money down the road by avoiding shoddy workmanship.

Problem: Overdose and suicides. Scott Ketcham, Director of OSHA’s directorate of construction, says, “Our goal is to protect workers and make sure that employers are protecting their workers as well.” He also noted that job site deaths from overdoses and suicides have increased and now account for one in 10.

Solution: Provide mental health support services. One of the best ways to support employees who may be dealing with depression and/or addiction is to provide mental health services such as counseling and support groups. This can help them work through their issues in a safe and private environment with professionals who understand their struggles. Furthermore, it shows that their employer cares about their wellbeing and wants to give them the resources they need to succeed on the job.

Problem: Lack of personal accountability. All on the job site are accountable for each other and themselves. “Why is it in my 40-plus years being in construction, if there’s ever an incident, there’s always something that wasn’t done correctly?” said Greg Sizemore, who sits on OSHA’s construction advisory committee. He continues, “Maybe because the responsibility stops at the worker and doesn’t go all the way up to the top of that organization.”

Solution: All members of your company need to remember that everyone has a share in having a safe workplace environment. Train all employees and managers to believe that safety is vital for survival in this industry. A positive attitude is contagious so if owners and managers believe safety is key, the attitude may rub off on your workers.

By putting into practice the above points, your company might just enter 2023 safer and better than ever!

Source material and chart:; Photo Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko