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Why people – not programs – drive safety programs for construction

December 15, 2021

You can achieve a robust safety program – and the benefits that come with it – by promoting an overall safety-driven culture through your people.  In a biannual survey of contractors, the SmartMarket Report Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 from the Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with CPWR and Newmetrix, make this very clear when it states that “[c]ontractors of all sizes consistently regard safety efforts as people-driven rather than program-driven.”

Safety programs neither fall from the sky nor exist solely on paper. They are built up, executed, and managed by an array of key stakeholders in your company. In addition, safety programs are not exclusively to protect the health of frontline workers; they also promote the collective well-being of a company as a whole. According to the report, robust safety programs allow companies to negotiate better insurance terms, improve their industry standings, and aid during the bidding process, all of which are pivotal to organizational resilience and success.

So, while having to “do safety” is often framed as a necessary, resource-costly evil, building a people-driven culture of safety has never been easier thanks to today’s digital tools and wealth of available data.

The human side of safety

In the survey, contractors report what they believe are the most essential elements of successful safety programs, including regular safety meetings, supervisors who practice safety skills, direct worker involvement, and an open-door policy for workers to report hazards without reprisals.  Notice that all of these factors are people-centric and involve the continual engagement of and relationship between workers and supervisors. 

This speaks to just how much value workers contribute to safety programs, and that their success depends on the actions of frontline people coming together. And OSHA agrees: “To be effective, any safety and health program needs the meaningful participation of workers and their representatives.”

Participation is critical because workers have both the most valuable knowledge about potential hazards and the most to gain from successful programs. Failing to tap into their knowledge base shortchanges the overall efficacy of any program and places those same workers at higher risk of injury. Without consistent input from staff, there would be no safety program and very little safety.

The array of digital tools at your disposal means developing and sustaining a people-driven safety culture is well within your grasp. Cloud-connected, user-friendly, and right in their pockets, Fulcrum’s Field Inspection Management platform unites your entire construction workforce, regardless of their tasks or position, around a larger, common good: a company-wide people-driven culture of safety.

Construction foreman consulting three workers on a job site - safety programs for construction

Promoting people-driven construction safety

Automated, mobile, and digital, Fulcrum’s Field Inspection Management platform is an inspection data collection and reporting tool enabling workers to complete their daily construction safety inspections on the device they’re already carrying.  In fact, anyone can document a hazard — for example, snapping a photo instead of spending time explaining the problem — and share it in real time, giving safety managers a wide, in-the-moment oversight into safety conditions. 

With these records stored safely in the cloud, everyone is always working from the same real-time data, giving inspection data collection the consistency and reliability it needs to be effective and improve safety standards. And bringing all of this data together into a web dashboard lets safety managers visualize trends and discover recurring safety and training issues that need to be addressed.

By making it easy for workers to protect themselves and others, Fulcrum lets your team know that you prioritize safety. User-friendly mobile apps, digital checklists, and real-time-updated safety procedures make their jobs easier because they always know what to do. When tools are easy, work is easy, and this encourages continued participation in safety efforts, and uniting your team to promote a culture of  safety  from the bottom up.

To sum up, Fulcrum makes safety pervasive and builds a culture of safety by:

  • Putting the right tools in the hands of workers to capture valuable safety inspection data; 
  • Helping to consolidate data into actionable insights to drive remediation efforts, process improvements, and training; and 
  • Providing longer-term results and KPI indicators of program success. 

A field inspection management platform by the people

The underlying premise of a people-driven culture of safety is that your people are the best resource to ensure successful safety programs, with advantages beyond improved safety to include long-term, broadly realized business benefits. 

Versatile safety programs driven by agile teams equipped with flexible tools and rigorous processes make a company better equipped to deal with change of any kind. Whether adapting to on-site working conditions, updated regulations and their compliance efforts, or wider industry shifts, building resilience means you can weather any storm and is great for business.

Contractors who bemoan the cost and time of safety programs should adjust their mindsets.  An investment in safety programs – and the tools like Fulcrum’s digital platform for field inspection management that allow for their easy implementation – creates a future generation of safety-minded workers for a return on investment that is both measurable and meaningful.


If you’d like to learn more how to build a culture of safety from your workers on up, watch our webinar: A Data-Driven Approach to Creating a Culture of Safety


Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 from the Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training and Newmetrix.

OSHA: Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs