Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
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Contractors turn to supervisors to improve construction safety

A report from Dodge Data & Analytics has shown how more construction contractors in Ohio and across the U.S. are emphasizing worker participation and the leading role of supervisors in their effort to improve safety. Job site workers and supervisors are related to the top four factors that most contractors brought up as being essential to safety.

First came the involvement of job site workers with 84% of study participants acknowledging its importance. After that came leadership skills in supervisors at 83%, regular safety meetings between workers and supervisors at 82% and the ability for both groups to access safety training at 77%. These ranked above the need for safety audits at 67% and for staff members devoted exclusively to safety at 62%.

However, contractors in the study were not doing as well when it came to utilizing the various tools for improving safety. For example, while 66% allowed workers to report safety hazards, only 50% asked for workers’ input on safety conditions in general. A mere 39% had their employees participate in safety planning.

Training can also be spotty. OSHA offers a Foundations for Safety Leadership training course for supervisors, yet only 43% of contractors in the report said they were aware of it, and 29% used it. Over 80% used OSHA’s 30-hour training program to train supervisors, but the program was not designed for that.

In the event that safety measures don’t prevent an accident, the injured worker may be able to file a claim under workers’ compensation law. Workers’ comp benefits typically include wage replacement and all expenses related to medical treatment. They cover short- or long-term disability leave when applicable. Benefits are not guaranteed, though, as employers have the right to deny them to workers. It may be wise, then, to have a lawyer assist with filing. Settlements are possible in this state.

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