Construction Safety Under Par, Finds NSC Survey

In its survey of 14 industries, the National Safety Council found 58% of Americans working in construction thinks safety takes a backseat to productivity.

A survey conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) found 58% of Americans working in construction thinks that safety takes a backseat to productivity and completing job tasks. Construction is the industry that sees the most workplace fatalities each year in the United States. According to this survey, 51% say management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, and 47% say employees are afraid to report safety safety

By contrast, 36% of the 2,000 full-time and part-time employees across the 14 industries (including construction) surveyed during February 2017 think their employers prioritize productivity over safety.

These findings come as the nation pauses to observe Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, 2017 and just before the start of the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction (May 8-12, 2017).

A total of 4,836 people died in workplace incidents in 2015, and 937 of those killed were construction workers.¹ Falls are the second leading cause of death in the workplace, and more than half of fall-related deaths each year occur in the construction industry.²

construction safety“On Workers’ Memorial Day, we pause to remember those that have been lost in completely preventable incidents,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC. “Sadly the results of our survey indicate that many workers still worry about whether they will make it home safely tonight. We call on all employers to renew their commitment to keep everyone safe, on every job, each and every day.”

Gauging Americans’ perceptions towards their safety at work may help provide further insight into workplace deaths. Other key findings from the survey, from workers across all industries in the survey include:

  • 32% think management ignores a person’s safety performance when determining promotions.
  • 62% say everyone is involved in solving job safety issues.
  • 63% of employees think they work in areas or at stations that are set up ergonomically correct.
  • 48% of employees believe safety meetings are held less often than is needed.
  • 47% believe performance standards are higher for job tasks than for safety. This percentage is higher among construction industry workers, where 67% feel this way.
  • 33% of employees working in transportation and warehousing do not agree that management has a written policy that expresses their attitude about employee safety.

The NSC offers free resources through the Journey to Safety Excellence for those looking to improve the safety culture in their organizations, and calls on employees to take the pledge to keep one another safe at work.

The survey is based on the Council’s Employee Perception Surveys. Full survey results and methodology are available on the NSC website.

¹According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
²According to Injury Facts, 2017 edition