Procore ANZ has released its first health and safety report, Safety InSite – Examining Health and Safety in Australian Construction at two recent breakfast forums in Sydney and Melbourne.
Around 100 guests from the industry attended each event to deep dive into the report’s findings and discuss the topics raised with a panel of experts from Probuild Construction, Scentre Group, UTS, Monash University and ACA Research.
While Australia is considered a world leader in health & safety standards, we still hear of evacuations, fatalities and mental health issues in the industry. International Labour Organisation data revealed that in total, accidents, injury and death in the workplace bear an economic cost of $2.99 trillion a year – 4% of global GDP.
Since we entered the Australian market, we’ve worked closely with customers to identify the key attitudes, processes and behaviours that contribute to the state of Work, Health and Safety (WH&S) in the industry. Safety InSite conducted by ACA Research gathered insights from 300 Australian construction companies and found that the size of a company isn’t a key predictor of commitment to WH&S within the construction sector.
In fact, the research identified three main categories emerging across the industry: Safety First companies, with the highest commitment to WH&S; Business As Usual companies with an average commitment to WH&S; and Vulnerable companies, which do not lack compliance or consideration but demonstrate the least commitment to WH&S.
Encouragingly, and in line with Australia’s global reputation for maintaining safe work sites, 76 percent of businesses surveyed are placing accident-free workplaces as their top priority. Nevertheless, the report found there are gaps and challenges with Australian construction businesses demonstrating inconsistent levels of commitment to the delivery of workplace health and safety within their organisation.
Key findings from the report include:
Roles and responsibilities - 83% of businesses believe safety is an integral part of everyone's job and 79% say employees need to be involved in making decisions around WH&S, however questions arise as to who should be responsible for what.
Who is responsible? - Across the board, one of the resounding messages coming out of the report is that most construction businesses, regardless of commitment to safety, will eventually put the onus and cause of incidents onto the active workers on site.
Technology and data - 57% believe technologies will help them improve safety in their business. However, 1/3 of companies surveyed say they are still using paper-based records to manage safety.
Mental health and wellness - Despite most companies acknowledging that stress, working overtime and mental health issues pose a significant risk to safety on-site and in the office, less than half (42%) of the companies surveyed have a mental health strategy in place.
Training - Across all company types, training is the most popular approach to managing WH&S with 63% of all companies conducting on-site inductions, toolbox talks or other regular training events.