A Safe Job Site Is a Productive Job Site

A safe job site is a productive job site. Any injury on the job site not only eliminates the injured worker’s output, but it also affects other workers performance while they attend to the injured worker and the aftermath of the injury. Safety is not only an economical but also an emotional issue on any job site.

Few processes and tools assure both safety and productivity simultaneously. Agile Construction®, which is based on the application of ASTM Standard E2691, was developed with productivity and safety in mind over twenty years ago. One of the main features of an Agile Construction® site is its requirement of laying out and planning the daily, weekly, and long-term job activities. Due to the attention to the detail during the development of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), job layout and planning automatically improves safety on the job site and reduces unforeseen incidents. Reduction of emergencies and firefighting – the top contributors to unsafe job sites and often occur due to lack of planning – during the project will help reduce the incidents and accidents on a well-planned job site.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 64 percent reduction in fatal and nonfatal injuries between 1992 and 2014 in the construction industry. The intense attention to safety on job sites is paying off. Insurance, absenteeism, and lost time are all part of the safety picture for contractors. Collaboration between contractors, electricians, general contractors, and distributors to create safe environments can help improve everyone’s bottom line. In addition to the fact that a safer job site is a better work environment, safety also contributes to higher productivity. Improved safety will increase the time spent on installation and project progress. Hand in hand with attention to safety, attention to productive activities will improve safety due to reducing wasted movements and unplanned activities.

Safety Data

The BLS reports data on fatal and nonfatal injuries and illnesses by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code. This data is collected through the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, which is both a state and federal program in which employer reports are collected annually from about 176,000 private industry establishments and processed by state agencies cooperating with the BLS. The BLS also provides data on the average weekly hours worked by production (nonsupervisory) employees, working 50 weeks per year, and reported injuries or illnesses in the construction industry.

Using this data, we were able to draw conclusions or estimations on how much workplace injuries or fatalities can affect a company.


Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses

The data in Figure 1 shows the number of cases in each category of number of days lost. Each case of an injury or illness is one occurrence for one employee, and the categories are not cumulative. In other words, in 2014, there were 10,650 cases of injury or illness in the entire construction industry that resulted in one day of lost work and 7,570 cases of injuries/illnesses that lead to two days of lost work.

A detailed view of the categories in Figure 1 shows that the majority of illnesses and injuries result in more than one month of lost time.

Days and Hours Lost

Because the data is listed by cases in each category, we calculated a weighted average of days lost to determine the impact on labor hours. The weighted average is calculated as follows:

Weighted Average of Days Lost
= (# cases of 1 day × 1)

+(# cases of 2 days × 2)

+(# cases of 3–5 days × 4)