The national construction fatality rate declined 47 percent and the number of recordable safety incidents dropped 38 percent since the federal government switched to a safety oversight approach known as “collaborative safety” in 1998 according to an analysis of federal safety data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) on August 25.
“There is no doubt that the collaborative approach is working” said Chuck Penn the executive director of the association’s Shreveport Louisiana chapter. “While even one fatality is too many it is hard to think of another government program providing so much improvement in so little time.”
The collaborative safety approach represented a significant shift in federal safety oversight when it was first introduced by the Clinton Administration Penn noted. The approach creates incentives for companies to find and fix safety problems before incidents occur while maintaining strong penalties for companies that let safety problems lag until someone is hurt.