Getting in STEP with ABC

Safety Program Keeps Employees Safe, Gives Members Edge

Established in 1989, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) serves as a free benchmarking and improvement tool for achieving world-class safety performance in construction. Members measure their safety processes and policies on the 20 Key Components through a detailed questionnaire and learn to implement or enhance safety programs.

John Manor, Membership and Safety Director for ABC of Southeast Michigan, recently traveled to National Headquarters to get an overview of the STEP program and discuss their recent performance report. He believes that this will be an important tool for all contractor members to have in their tool box when it comes to bidding on future projects.

“As an industry, I believe all of our contractors are seeing an increased interest from clients in what type of safety precautions they have in place on their jobsites,” Manor said. “I personally believe that our contractors have the health and wellbeing of their employees first and foremost at heart when bidding jobs. But, clients more and more want to see what contractors are doing to keep their company safe and compliant. That is where the STEP program can provide a huge edge. Having an ongoing safety program like this really puts them a ‘step’ above their competitors when bidding on a job.”

ABC recently released its 2017 Safety Performance Report to further the construction industry’s understanding of how to make jobsites safer through its Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP). Packed with infographics and practical takeaways, the report documents the dramatic impact of using proactive safety practices to reduce recordable incidents by up to 87 percent, making the best-performing companies 770 percent safer than the industry average.

“ABC’s third annual report on the use of leading indicators, such as substance abuse programs and new hire safety orientations, confirms that high-performing ABC members have safer construction jobsites,” said ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman. “This is one of the few studies of commercial and industrial construction firms doing real work on real projects, and it shows that implementing best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs.”

The Safety Performance Report is based on data gathered from ABC member companies recording more than one billion hours of work in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades. It tracked 35 data points from ABC’s 2016 STEP participants to determine the correlation between implementing leading indicator use and lagging indicator performance, which is measured by the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away and Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate. Each of the data points collected was sorted using statistically valid methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey, and combined to produce analyses of STEP participant performance against BLS industry average incidence rates.

Among the findings:

  • Companies that attained the highest level of STEP participation—Diamond—reduced their TRIR by 87 percent compared to the BLS industry average of 3.5 injuries/fatalities per 100 full-time employees.
  • STEP participants with a robust substance abuse program/policy in place dramatically outperformed those with a weaker program, reducing their TRIR and DART rates by 36 percent.
  • Conducting a new hire safety orientation lasting more than 200 minutes reduced incident rates by 94 percent compared to an orientation of 30 minutes.
  • Companies that held site-specific safety orientations reduced their TRIR by 45 percent.
  • Holding daily toolbox talks (brief, single-topic training sessions conducted on the jobsite for all employees) reduced TRIR by 64 percent, versus holding them monthly.
  • Firms that scored high for C-suite leadership engagement and employee participation reduced their TRIR by 54 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

“This program has greatly reduced jobsite incidence rates for our members,” said Manor. “That is a service I look forward to making available to our chapter members. Applying world-class processes will dramatically improve safety performance among participants regardless of company size or type of work. This is a win-win for our members and best of all it is part of their membership already.”

In September, Manor will travel to ABC’s Virginia Chapter to receive his accreditation in the STEP program which will allow him to offer it to ABC members in southeast Michigan.