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10/3/2013 - Study: Construction firms opt to not use safety systems due to impact on work output

Construction companies may not be doing enough to keep their workers safe, research shows.

A new report indicates that while construction firms have a wide variety of tools and strategies at their disposal to protect their workers from injury, many firms don't utilize them due to the adverse effect they have on productivity.

The analysis, which was published in the American Society of Safety Engineers, surveyed a representative sample of the construction industry, which included carpenters, - both apprentice and journeymen - safety professionals, and contractor/owner operators. Despite having the means to purchase fall protection instrumentation, the researchers discovered that many opted not to because it slowed their ability to get jobs done quickly.

Vicki Kaskutas, co-author of the study, noted that there's also the issue of figuring out how these products are used.

"There is a learning curve when using a new fall protection device," said Kaskutas. "This can add time to the home building process, which is a major concern in the current economic environment."

According to the Labor Department, the leading cause of worker deaths on construction sites in 2011 were falls. Additionally, such accidents account for 64% of deaths that occur in the residential building sector overall.

Though safety mechanisms may seem unnecessary at times, the alternative can be devastating on a company's bottom line and workplace sentiment. Nevertheless, the proper businessowners insurance policy can help firms recover from their losses and pay for damages in the event of a tragedy.

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