It’s hard to over emphasize the importance of safety to the construction industry. Injury and fatality rates are higher than national averages, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The construction industry makes up over half of the 40,000+ annual inspections performed by OSHA, not to mention the thousands of state inspections.
Due to this fact, OSHA has been focusing more and more on whistle blower protection programs, and recent budget actions highlight this shift. The Obama administration’s FY14 budget increased funding for whistle blower protection by 37% over FY13, even as the number of overall inspections performed by the federal government continues to decline.
Figure 1. Total OSHA Inspections, 2006-2014*
* FY14 figures are estimates. Actual figures will be released in FY15.
While inspections have a reputation of costing the industry time and money, there are recognizable benefits from performing random safety inspections. A study conducted by Science Magazine found that random safety inspections by government officials results in a 9.4% decline in injury rates. Additionally, this study found a reduction in costs from injuries of 26% due to random inspections.
Figures like these should point out a few things for construction companies to consider. First, federal and state governments will continue to invest in frandom inspections and whistleblower protection, and the construction industry will bear the brunt of these efforts.
Secondly, progressive companies can take the lead in this area and initiate their own safety programs and random testing within their companies. Investing in tese areas, and developing a culture of safety, can lead to a decline in injury rates and reduce the injury costs associated with the job.
For more information on random safety testing, or how to initiate such cultural changes within your company, please contact us.