New report shows importance of supervisors in construction safety

Construction workers in Texas may or may not be heavily involved in the crafting of safety plans and guidelines around the job site, but a report from Dodge Data & Analytics has found that more contractors are attempting this. Contractors are also increasingly relying on supervisors to boost safety.

The report discovered what contractors believe to be the top factors in a good safety program. Four of them involved job site workers and/or supervisors with greater involvement for the former coming out at top, mentioned by 84%. Second came the need for leadership skills in supervisors at 83%, followed by regular safety meetings between workers and supervisors at 82% and continual access to safety training at 77%.

Despite the emphasis on improving leadership and participation, the tools for reaching these goals are not being used as widely as they should. For instance, OSHA offers a 30-hour training program for supervisors, but only 43% of contractors were aware of this, and a meager 29% actually used it. Yet 90% of those who used it reported an improvement in safety culture.

While the majority of contractors have workers report safety hazards, only 50% asked for employees' input on safety conditions. Thirty-nine percent involved employees in the safety planning process. Also, most small contractors in the study had not adopted site-specific safety policies.

Involving workers is essential to averting accidents, but unfortunately, some accidents will still occur. Fortunately, those who are injured on the job may file a workers' compensation claim regardless of who was at fault. Employers do have a right to deny payment, so victims may want a lawyer to assist with the filing and, if necessary, with the mounting of an appeal. Benefits may cover all medical expenses and a portion of the income lost during the physical recovery.

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