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The use of proactive safety practices at construction firms can make best-performing companies 827% safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average, according to a new report from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The ABC's 2020 Safety Performance Report aims to further the industry's understanding of how to achieve world-class safety. The report, published in conjunction with National Safety Month in June, finds that the number of firms implementing proactive safety practices increased 88% from the previous year.

"Based on real contractors doing real work, ABC's annual Safety Performance Report outlines how safety best practices and performance measurement can drastically improve jobsite safety," ABC vice president of health, safety, environment, and workforce development Greg Sizemore said in a news release. "During unprecedented circumstances such as the COVID-19 outbreak or when it's business as usual, and no matter the size of the company or scope of work, the information and tools in [the] report will help contractors create the conditions that help ensure our workers go home safe and healthy every day."

According to the report, tracking and reviewing activities carried out to prevent and control injuries, such as safety training, new hire safety orientation, and behavior-based safety observations, leads to a 70% reduction in the total recordable injury rate (TRIR) and a 71% reduction in the days away, restricted or transferred (DART) rate. ABC found that companies that conduct daily toolbox safety meetings reduce TRIR by 82% compared to companies that hold them monthly.

Companies with written personal protection equipment policies that are consistently and universally enforced and companies that conduct an annual needs assessment and continually invest in new equipments have 62% lower TRIR and 65% lower DART rates. The report found that one-third of incidents on construction jobsites are drug- or alcohol-related and robust substance abuse programs with provisions for drug and alcohol testing where permitted led to a 66% reduction in TRIR and a 67% reduction in DART rates.

The 2020 Safety Performance Report is based on data gathered from ABC member companies recording nearly one billion hours of work in construction. The reported tracked 35 data points from companies that deployed ABC's safety management system STEP in 2019 to determine the correlation between leading indicator use and lagging indicator performance.