The Cost of Safety in (US) Construction



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Construction is one of the main contributors to the United States economy. Over 680,000 people work as employers, while over 7 million work as employees. As is true with all potentially high-risk occupations, health and safety are extremely important points to consider.


Proper safety precautions and adequate safety training in the construction field seem like a given. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, up to 25% of micro-business employees report that they have never received proper safety training for the workplace.


Investing in proper safety training and precautions is not only about ethics. It also ends up saving you money in the long run!


In this post, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about the (true) cost of safety for your construction industry business. We’ll discuss how costs are measured, the cost of non-compliance, safety fails, and accidents, and the benefits of an investment in safety overall.


Measuring The Costs Of Health And Safety In . Construction


Stats show that due to an annual estimate of around 1000 worker fatalities alone, almost $5 billion is lost on economic activity in the US each year. These costs include violation fines, lost production, lost family income, and legal costs. And this is not even including the indirect costs associated with accidents and safety fails in the industry!


Clearly, then, the cost of health and safety in the US construction industry is significant and broad. Measures implemented for health and safety differ from state to state. As such, the costs are measured by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration along with its state partners.


These entities work together to annually compile accurate and up-to-date statistics concerning the state of health and safety measures in the US construction industry. These stats measure things like violations, accidents, and fatalities.


Keep reading to find out more about the cost of non-compliance and safety fails in the industry.


The Costs Of Non-compliance


According to recent findings, workplace accidents and fatalities have decreased significantly over the last decades. However, it is still estimated that between 30 and 40 people succumb to fatal accidents in or because of the construction field - daily.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has therefore started tightening and implementing laws and violation penalties. Violation fines for a serious breach of regulations have risen since 2016 from $7,000 per violation to $13,653 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations has also increased from $129,340 per violation in 2016 to $136,532 per violation in 2021.


However, the true costs of non-compliance are even more frightening. Often, a business will be charged with more than one regulation breach when violations are discovered as a result of non-compliance. For small businesses and repeat offenders, then, it is clear that the opportunity for bankruptcy from even just one penalty is very high. There are also costs associated with safety fails and accidents in construction.


The True Costs Of Safety Fails And Accidents In Construction


So far, we have spoken about the cost of safety in construction with regard to penalties. These are the costs associated with non-compliance in the construction industry. But what about other costs? There are many other things that make up the amount of money spent every time a safety fail or accident occurs.


For things such as injuries as a result of accidents and safety fails, you don’t only need to worry about the price of the violation. You should take the consequences into account as well. Medical costs, legal costs, worker wages, productivity loss, incident investigation costs, and of course damage to equipment all cost money too.


So, a safety failure or accident in the industry is about so much more than breaching a regulation. This is why statistics show that the true cost of one death is not the $990,000 as reported by the CDCP. In the worst-case scenario of a fatality, we have already mentioned that around $5 billion is spent as a result of workplace deaths each year. This means that the cost of just one employee fatality often works out to way more than $1 million! This includes the consequences of the fatality, too.


How Investing In Safety Saves Money Over Time


It is important to keep up-to-date with OSHA regulations and penalties in the US in order to either prevent or prepare for the worst. However, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, how can business owners and managers go about really preventing the loss of both lives as well as money?


The answer is simple: invest in safety. It may seem daunting to spend more money than you are used to on safety measures. But, it is clear from the above analysis of the true costs of workplace accidents that even just one violation or safety fail can result in your company forking out millions of dollars - thus risking bankruptcy or seriously affecting sustainability.


There are also a number of indirect effects that an investment in safety can have. It is of course true that the happier, safer, and more valued the workforce feels, the more likely productivity is to rise. As a result, the quality of work goes up. And so does the opportunity for business growth and new collaborations. This is just one more reason on the list of many to invest in safety and health regulations in the US!


Final Thoughts


Measuring and investing in safety should be on the list of many construction businesses’ top priorities. This is where SkillSignal comes in. SkillSignal is a safety management app that is all about helping its customers to regulate job site safety and compliance.


Among the many things that it offers are safety videos, site safety orientation, COVID-19 screenings, and automatic alerts. The use of this site safety app makes keeping on track with potential safety fails and accidents a breeze. It even helps you to understand the best ways to prevent them altogether.


Check out our app today, and remember that an investment in safety is an investment in your entire business!




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