Safety performance report shows how easy it is to cut reportable incident rates by 85%

By Larry StewartMay 10, 2023

Leaders of the Mortenson | Alberici | Keeley Joint Venture on demonstrate safety priority celebrating Safety Week 2022 on site of Centene Stadium in St. Louis. (Photo:

The Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2023 Safety Performance Report shows that proficiency in four elements of a construction safety program makes contractors nearly seven times safer than the industry average, with an 85% reduction in Total Recordable Incident Rates. The annual report on construction-safety best practices is a comprehensive study of the impact of ABC’s STEP Safety Management System on actual performance measures of participating contractors in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades.

Since the program began in 1989, it has researched more than 850 million work hours completed by participants. The 2023 report identified the safety results of these proactive hazard-elimination best practices:

  1. New hire safety orientation: Companies that conduct an in-depth indoctrination of new employees into the safety culture, systems and processes based on a documented orientation process experience incident rates that are 48% to 52% lower than companies that limit their orientations to basic health and safety compliance topics.
  2. Substance abuse prevention programs: Robust substance abuse prevention programs/policies with provisions for drug and alcohol testing where permitted lead to a 59% reduction in Total Recordable Incident Rates and a 62% reduction in Days Away, Restricted or Transferred Rates.
  3. Toolbox talks: Companies that conduct daily toolbox talks reduce TRIR by 78% and DART rates by 76% compared to companies that hold them monthly.
  4. Top management engagement: Employer involvement at the highest level of company management produces a 54% reduction in TRIR and a 55% reduction in DART rates.

ABC’s STEP program provides the framework to measure, improve and build industry-leading safety programs.

“Top-performing ABC STEP members actively build health and safety into their culture, creating industry-leading, holistic safety programs to protect their workers and deliver for their clients,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “STEP measures performance on key components, strengthens and expands best practices and builds safety culture.”

(Graphic: Associated Builders and Contractors)

Since 2018, ABC’s Safety Performance Report has captured the results of ABC STEP member companies performing real work on real projects to identify what comprises a world-class safety program. ABC member firms participating in STEP measure their safety processes and policies on key components and the criteria for best practices through a detailed questionnaire, with the goal of implementing or enhancing safety programs that reduce jobsite incident rates.

The 2023 ABC Safety Performance Report is based on submissions of unique company data gathered from members that deployed during the 2022 STEP term. ABC collects each company’s trailing-indicator data as reported on its annual Occupational Safety and Health Administration Form 300A (“Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses”) and the company’s self-assessment of leading-indicator practices from its STEP application. Each data point collected is sorted using statistically valid methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Survey and then combined to produce analyses of STEP member performance against BLS industry average incident rates. The report demonstrates that applying world-class processes dramatically improves safety performance among participants regardless of company size or type of work.

New in 2023, ABC added total human health as a key component of an effective safety program. ABC says total human health raises the bar of keeping workers safe to acknowledge and address thoughts and preoccupying concerns that everyone experiences in daily life, incorporating:

  • A whole-person approach to engage a person’s body, mind, heart and soul
  • Psychological safety that is respectful and inclusive of a diverse workforce
  • Acknowledgement of the risk of distraction and impairment and responding with appropriate care

ABC’s 2023 Safety Performance Report is sponsored by SafetyHQ, powered by Foundation Software, which is a health and safety management application.

Any company can participate in STEP.

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