Where does your company sit on the safety spectrum? According to a new report from ACA Research, a lot depends on the integration of your safety practices and proper identification and management of risks.
Procore recently commissioned the Safety InSite WHS in Australian Construction research to understand how Australian construction firms are tracking across key indicators like safety management style, planning, training and use of technology.
ACA surveyed 287 firms, ranging in size from “micro” firms with up to 10 employees to major contractors with more than 500 workers. The companies spanned across various construction sectors, from commercial and residential building to infrastructure and institutional buildings.
One of the key findings was that the size of a company did not determine a company’s safety culture or the incidence of serious safety events involving time off work and hospitalisation.
The survey participants were grouped into three categories – Safety First firms with the highest level of commitment; Business As Usual companies with an average level of commitment; and Vulnerable companies whose safety practises could use substantial attention to deliver improvements.
The report found that companies in the Safety First category had the lowest rate of incidents, including reported safety incidents where no injury occurred. Meanwhile, those in the Vulnerable category, around 30 per cent of firms, had the highest rate of incidents.
Safety First firms also expressed the highest level of confidence in their procedures and practices in case of external risks, such as severe weather or unusually quiet or busy periods. These companies also tended to spread awareness and a sense of personal responsibility for safety throughout the organisation, including office staff.
Companies not tracking so well often still had sound policies at the executive level. However, much of the actual onsite work and, therefore, onsite safety responsibility lay in the hands of subcontractors.
The research also found that while approximately one-third of companies are still managing critical safety information using paper-based approaches, many have begun to recognise that digital approaches bring better and more measurable benefits.
One of the most significant areas for improvement among the companies surveyed was mental health. In many instances, the workplace health and safety risks associated with mental health have not yet been identified, planned for or properly managed.
The researchers highlighted a range of ways companies and stakeholders can lift their safety game. To learn what they are and find out more about safety on Australia’s construction sites, download your free copy of the report here.