By Robert Clancy

I am amazed that every contractor I speak to has an endless list of jobs to perform. Nice problems to have! But, now that winter is upon us, and with work slowing down, I felt it was a good time to re-visit the importance of safety and to further promote ABC’s STEP program.

For those unaware, ABC’s Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) is a safety benchmarking and improvement tool that dramatically improves safety performance among construction industry participants regardless of company size or type of work. This program has been in place since 1989. The program has 24 key components that each company evaluates and gives themselves a score. The highest score possible is for companies working best in class for that category. There are many companies that participate every year, but we need to raise the awareness of the benefits of STEP and how contractors can use this program as an asset in safety as well as production.

Robert Clancy

According to ABC National’s 2019 Safety Performance Report, STEP participants are 130 percent better than the national Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) average, and STEP Diamond participants have a TRIR that is 670 percent better! These are some staggering numbers. STEP has proven its worth in helping companies achieve world class safety. More importantly, it provides a mechanism for companies to evaluate their strengths as well as their weaknesses and provides guidance as to what the best class companies provide. It also helps company leaders keep abreast of new and emerging safety techniques and trends throughout the industry.

STEP has six levels of participation: Participant, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Of course, the goal is to reach the Diamond Level. However, many companies entering STEP come in at Participant, Bronze, or Silver levels with an eye on improving safety processes, procedures, and training to improve safety performance. The focus of STEP is to improve safety efforts (and ultimately performance) for all participating companies. The specifics of the program are located on ABC National’s website and can be accessed at You can apply for STEP directly from this website.

In conjunction with STEP, I encourage all member firms to take the pledge of a Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace ( The Construction Coalition for a Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace (CCDAFW) has assembled industry resources pertaining to substance abuse policies, testing procedures, disciplinary policies, and various state/local laws relating to substance abuse testing requirements and regulations. These resources are designed to help companies strengthen their substance abuse policies using resources created and implemented by fellow industry partners. It is a STEP requirement to make a drug and alcohol free workplace pledge.

Every ABC member wants to send its workers home safely every night. Take the first step towards achieving world-class safety by participating in STEP, whether you are beginning your safety journey or continuing to strengthen your performance. Commercial and industrial contractors as well as suppliers who are committed to safety and their employees are encouraged to participate.

I encourage those who are in STEP to continue to use it as a tool to strengthen your companies. For those new to ABC and/or STEP, I encourage you to give it a try to see how it can make an impact on your safety culture.