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ABC Highlights Value of Leading Safety Indicators During OSHA Public Meeting

Safety

Associated Builders and Contractors Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore spoke at a Nov. 7 Occupational Health and Safety Administration public meeting on leading indicators for safety and health programs. In his remarks, Sizemore emphasized the importance of leading indicators as a proactive measure to prevent workplace hazards and reduce recordable incidents, resulting in improved safety and health performance.

Citing ABC’s 2019 Safety Performance Report, an annual assessment of STEP safety management systemdata, Sizemore outlined the remarkable impact that leading indicators, such as tool box talks or substance abuse programs, have on a construction company’s safety performance. In fact, the 2019 SPR found that implementing proactive safety practices can reduce total recordable incident rates by up to 85%, making the best performing companies 680% safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average.

“While the construction industry has historically evaluated safety performance based on trailing indicators—past incidents or conditions—it is equally as important we assess and implement core leading indicators to proactively manage performance,” said Sizemore. “By identifying hazards and eliminating or minimizing the conditions to prevent injury, companies of all sizes can dramatically improve safety performance and help us ensure all of our employees go home in the same—or better—condition than when they arrived on the jobsite.”

ABC’s 2019 SPR quantified the positive impact of proactive injury and hazard elimination tools on the jobsite using data gathered from STEP participants to determine how measures taken to prevent incidents actually improve trailing indicator performance. ABC identified eight core leading indicators: toolbox safety talks, substance abuse programs, safety program performance review, taking action on trailing indicators, employer supervisory safety meetings, use of personal protective equipment, pre-planning for jobsite safety and safety program goal setting.

ABC’s 2019 SPR is based on nearly one billion work hours gathered from ABC member companies in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades. It tracked 35 data points from companies that deployed STEP in 2018 to determine the correlation between leading indicator use and lagging indicator performance, which is measured by the Total Recordable Incident Rate and Days Away and Restricted or Transferred rate. Each of the data points was sorted using a statistically valid methodology developed by BLS for its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey, and then combined to produce analyses of STEP company performance against BLS industry average incident rates and incident prevention.

The public stakeholder meeting was part of a new OSHA initiative to develop leading indicator tools for safety and health performance. As OSHA works to emphasize the importance of leading indicators among high-hazard industries, information gathered will be used to create a repository of resources for companies, industry groups and other organizations.

To learn more about ABC’s commitment to world-class safety, visit abc.org/spr.

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