The Alabama Road Builder - Fall 2015 - (Page 13)

feature The Costs of Sound SAFETY PERFORMANCE By Brad Sant Senior Vice President of Safety and Education, ARTBA I n addition to being human tragedies, work zone fatalities and injuries divert more than $1 billion annually from transportation construction. Two roadway construction or maintenance workers are killed on the job every week. Another 10 workers are injured every day. These figures, based on annual averages, tend to increase during the busy, warm-weather building and repair season. But such fatalities and injuries are tragic no matter when they occur, especially for the victims' families and co-workers. These incidents should not just be looked at as statistics but as impacting real people. Here are a few examples from this year, according to news reports: * Fifty-year-old David L. Ridzon, a public works employee in Tolland, CT, was killed in March when one of his coworkers backed over him with a dump truck as he repaired potholes. * A few weeks later, Ronald Paul Raiche Jr., a 47-year-old Nevada Department of Transportation worker, was struck and killed by a commercial truck while repairing cracks on Interstate 80 between Elko and Reno. * I n April, 28-year-old Jared Overfield was crushed to death when a huge pipe rolled down a hillside at the Highway 101 widening project he was working at near Petaluma, CA. These are just a few of the many workers who went to the job site one morning and did not return to their families at the The Alabama Roadbuilder * Fall 2015 end of the day. Real people, real suffering, real sadness. Deaths and injuries in the transportation construction industry also cost a lot of money  - more than $1.2  billion annually, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which estimates each death in the construction industry costs $4  million in direct and indirect expenses, while each injury resulting in lost work days costs $42,000.1 As noted above, approximately 100 workers in our industry are killed each year, and 20,000 more are injured. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently put the cost of each worker fatality at $8.7 million and each injury at $62,000. Any way you add it up, billions of dollars are being diverted from the highway, bridge and public transit construction industry as the result of these accidents. These staggering costs include hidden economic consequences that should be understood so they can be controlled. UNDERSTANDING THE REAL COST OF AN INCIDENT Due to the highly personal and emotional nature of occupational deaths and injuries, it can be difficult to talk about such incidents in terms of dollars. That can seem cold and calculating. But business managers need to understand that correlation in order to justify a solid investment in time and capital to improve their safety performance. It follows the old axiom that performance improves when it is measured and reported. The measurement of death and injury costs should be considered both in terms of direct and indirect costs. For example, direct costs include workers' compensation payments, medical expenses and costs for legal services. Indirect costs might include training replacement employees, accident investigation, implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism. Though not a part of occupational WEIGHING SAFETY PERFORMANCE The American Society for Safety Engineers recommends weighing safety performance against these eight criteria: * Profitability * Reputation/Image/Brand * Market Share * Time to Market * Shareholder Value * Cost Containment (e.g., control costs) * Productivity * Customer Service * Compliance Risk safety risks, it is important to note that other, more damaging, long-term costs may arise due to an inadequate safety program. This includes exposure to legal liabilities and tort action, especially if a member of the public, rather than an employee, is injured in an accident on your work site. When measuring the costs of workplace incidents, the "iceberg" effect comes into play, meaning the direct costs we anticipate and easily measure are only a small portion of the real cost. These indirect - or hidden - costs are the most dangerous because business managers may fail to see them. Our traditional accounting systems were not designed to recognize indirect costs resulting from accidents (or savings from avoiding them), so they are usually included as expenses to overhead. In fact, it is difficult to realize a correlation with safety performance because the main considerations for efficient construction projects are typically scope, time and budget. Some managers think only in these parameters. Newer considerations, like quality, safety, health, social responsibility and environmental concerns, are often overlooked by contractors, especially in small to mid-sized firms. To better integrate safety management into the company economic profile, it should be viewed in terms of corporate values. The American Society for Safety 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Alabama Road Builder - Fall 2015

Executive Director's Message
President's Message
ARBA Convention 2015 Highlights
The Costs of Sound Safety Performance
Senate Passes Long-Term Transportation Bill
Moving Forward With the Northern Beltline
Products and Services Marketplace
Index to Advertiers/
Heard Along the Highway

The Alabama Road Builder - Fall 2015