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  • 15 November 2019 13:43

New research reveals accident-free workplaces are the top priority for Australian construction companies

Proactive attitudes, universal responsibility, data-driven practices, and integrated mental health policy result in better work health and safety outcomes

SYDNEY, Australia - 14 November 2019 - Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, in partnership with ACA Research, today released the findings of a new report, Safety InSite: Examining health and safety practices in the Australian construction industry. The research investigated work health and safety (WH&S) attitudes, behaviours, practices and use of technology within the sector - and the health and safety outcomes that result. The report reveals that a proactive and data-driven approach to health and safety, that takes into account every worker and their wellbeing, can result in fewer incidents and greater resilience to external factors.

Encouragingly, and in line with Australia’s global reputation for maintaining safe work sites, 76 per cent of businesses surveyed are placing accident-free workplaces as their top priority. Furthermore, 82 per cent of respondents have a formal workplace health and safety policy in place. Nevertheless, the report found there are still gaps and challenges, with Australian construction businesses demonstrating inconsistent levels of commitment to the delivery of workplace health and safety.

The Safety InSite report identifies three categories of businesses within the industry: Safety First companies, with the highest commitment to WH&S; Business As Usual companies with average commitment to WH&S; and Vulnerable companies, which do not lack compliance or consideration, but demonstrate the least commitment to WH&S. Concerningly, 31 per cent of Vulnerable companies do not have a formal WH&S policy in place.

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 WH&S decisions. In most companies, leadership and site managers are typically responsible for designing policies, monitoring compliance, managing risk and resolving issues. However, 56% of companies shift the responsibility of identifying hazardous activities onto subcontractors.

Placing the blame - Across the board, one of the resounding messages coming out of the report is that most construction businesses (78%), regardless of commitment to safety, will put the cause of incidents down to lack of care by workers on site.

Mental health and wellness - Despite most construction companies acknowledging that stress, working overtime and mental health issues pose a significant risk to safety on-site and in the office, just 40% have a mental health strategy in place.

Training - While most surveyed companies provide safety training as employees join the company or following an incident, 62% of Safety First and 67% of Business as Usual companies hold training at regular intervals throughout the year, ensuring that there is a consistent focus on safety. Less than half (45%) of Vulnerable companies conduct regular staff safety training.

Stepping up with software - More than half (57%) of the respondents surveyed believe technology will help them improve safety in their business. Yet, one third say they are still using paper-based records to manage safety and just 34% of respondents use specialist safety software that integrates with a construction management solution.

Maximising data insights - 37% of companies use regular analysis of safety reporting data to inform decision-making and policy, predict and prevent incidents. Interestingly, Business as Usual companies are the most data-driven (50%) and, in terms of company size, there is a clear step up from smaller (17%) to larger (62%) businesses when it comes to using data to mitigate WH&S risks.

Weathering external factors - Safety First companies are significantly more confident that the WH&S systems they have in place mean that they are resilient to the impact of external factors. For example, 62% of Business as Usual experience more incidents as a result of busy periods, however this drops down to 36% for Safety First. They also report fewer incidents across factors such as; wet weather, hot weather, cold weather, end of shift, start of shift and quiet periods.

Overall, the research found Safety First companies take a proactive, organised, and data-driven approach, ensuring all members of staff, regardless of role, are engaged in safety efforts. These highly committed companies also capture insights from incidents and use them to update company policy and improve wider employee wellbeing. The Safety First group reported significantly fewer incidents across the board, with just one percent reporting a serious incident in the last three months compared to nine per cent for BAU and 11 per cent for Vulnerable companies.

“Australia has a reputation for maintaining high safety standards on construction sites. With this in mind, we conducted this research to identify where changes can be made to hone best practices and ensure we improve our good record,” said Tom Karemacher, APAC Vice President, Procore Technologies.

“The Safety InSite report has confirmed Australia’s high WH&S standards and revealed there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to embracing new technologies and digitisation,” Karemacher continued. “There is a clear opportunity to make significant WH&S improvements by utilising specialist software, capturing valuable data, and extracting the right insights to help prevent onsite incidents and deliver better worker outcomes.”

The research behind Safety InSite - Examining Health and Safety in Australian Construction was conducted by independent research company ACA Research, which surveyed 287 construction companies of different sizes and types of construction across Australia.

Download a copy of the Safety InSite - Examining Health and Safety in Australian Construction report here.

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About Procore

Procore is a leading provider of construction management software. Our platform connects every project stakeholder to solutions we've built specifically for the construction industry—for the owner, the general contractor, and the specialty contractor. Procore’s App Marketplace has a multitude of partner solutions that integrate seamlessly with our platform, giving construction professionals the freedom to connect with what works best for them. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, Procore has offices around the globe. Learn more at procore.com.

Media contact:

India Bednall / Samantha Rosich

Espresso Communications

procore@espressocomms.com.au

+61 2 8016 2200

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