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eBook: 2024 Guide to Construction Safety

June 6, 2024
Everything you need to know to keep workers safe, from working at heights, to summer heat to mental fitness.

What does it mean to be safe in construction? Construction is the backbone of our society, both literally and figuratively. Building permits are a leading indicator that economists use to make predictions about the economy. Home ownership has long been the American dream.

None of this would be possible without construction workers, who are facing additional physical and mental safety challenges of late.

When discussing the topic of safety in construction, I thought of at least a dozen different areas that we could focus on with this ebook. Take climate change, for example. The past few summers have seen record heat waves across the United States. Places that are used to the heat, such as Arizona, have had an unprecedented number of days where the mercury has sat above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, places that aren’t used to heat, such as Washington and Oregon, are struggling to adapt to the hotter and drier weather.

These changing climate patterns seem to be here to stay, but thankfully safety professionals are experts at finding creative solutions. The American Society for Safety Professionals (ASSP) released the first national voluntary consensus standard addressing heat stress for construction and demolition workers. Companies are also developing their own heat stress programs and equipping workers with the latest tools, technology and plenty of beverages to help workers stay cool.

The construction industry must also contend with some difficult topics, including fatalities, mental health and substance use disorder. Construction workers represent only about 7% of the workforce, but they accounted for 15% of all workplace overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016, according to a recent report from Construction Working Minds. What’s more, 83% of construction workers have experienced some form of moderate to severe mental health issue.

The data is alarming, but it doesn’t represent the full story. After all, you all are actively involved in writing the next chapter. I hope the following articles help you find creative ways to tackle some of construction’s most persistent hazards and build a stronger safety culture.

The stakes have never been higher but safety professionals have always risen to the occasion. I have no doubt you are already brainstorming 1,000 different ways to make the construction industry safer. I’m honored to work at EHS Today, where I have the privilege of helping you help others. Please let us know how else we can make your job easier.

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