High-performing construction contractors recognize the importance of a positive safety culture at their firms. In 2012 and 2015, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) partnered with Dodge Data and Analytics (formerly part of McGraw-Hill) to survey contractors and learn about their Construction Safety Management Systems. The findings, reported in the April 2016 Dodge SmartMarket Report "Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health in the Construction Industry," indicated important progress over the three-year period.

But data also indicated that small firms lagged behind larger ones on most of the indicators. A new CPWR Quarterly Data Report, "Safety Management and Safety Culture among Small Construction Firms," compares the responses of small and large firms. The findings include:

  • Almost 90% of respondents at large firms (500-plus employees) reported having measurable safety goals and objectives; 37% of small firms (one to nine employees) did.
  • Almost 80% of respondents at large firms said they required all workers on the jobsite to have OSHA 10-hour training; 53% of small firms said the same.
  • 74% of large firms indicated that safety and health is a top agenda item in all meetings; less than 25% of the smaller firms said the same.
  • At 64% of large firms, workers were involved in job-hazard analysis; only 38% of small firms reported this.

Safety culture is one of today's most promising frontiers in construction safety and health, and it's heartening to see the industry's leading firms actively cultivating a positive safety culture on their construction sites. We must continue to provide information and resources to the nation's smaller firms so they can do the same.