Secure Your Footing with Data-Driven Safety

Alyssa Sarro | 6/14/2024

Topics: Minitab Statistical Software, Construction

Construction workers keep the world running by building our offices, neighborhoods, hospitals, and schools.

Working in the industry, however, can be inherently dangerous. Workers face constant danger from falling objects, heavy machinery, and other workplace injuries. Although they are shaping the infrastructure around us, this progress can come at a heavy price.

The Cost of Cutting Corners

It is estimated that the total annual cost of all construction injuries in the United States is more than $11.5 billion. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded that the fatality rate for this occupation group increased from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers in 2021 to 13.0 in 2022. Workers in construction occupations had the second most fatalities compared to all other occupation groups.

The true cost of construction injuries goes far beyond the estimated $11.5 billion annual burden, and the rising fatality rate highlights this severity. These injuries aren't just economic setbacks, they can end careers, limit activities, and leave lasting impacts on all stakeholders.


Minitab Can Get You Started

The good news is that Minitab provides solutions that can help you reduce your workplace injuries. To illustrate this, let's consider a fictional company called Surefoot Construction. Leadership wants to be more conscious about safety precautions where their employees work. This commitment to safety for their employees goes beyond simply following regulations; it involves understanding where the roots of the problems are and implementing changes to protect both the employees and the business.

Taking a reactive approach to safety by simply continuing to respond to incidents after they occur will not address the causes of workplace dangers. This is when Surefoot looked to Minitab Statistical Software for help. They decided to use Minitab to analyze the previous year’s data to identify trends and patterns that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Surefoot experienced more injuries than the norm for similar companies. Pareto Charts, a visualization located in Minitab Statistical Software, excel at highlighting the biggest contributors to a particular problem. Using a Pareto Chart revealed the types of injuries happening at Surefoot jobsites most frequently:


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By visualizing the injury data, Surefoot could see that 38.1% of the total injuries that happened at their jobsites were related to falls. Based on the data, leadership reasoned that the largest improvement to safety on the construction sites might be achieved by lessening the number of falling accidents.

Learn more about Minitab’s construction solutions.


According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fall protection must be provided at elevations of six feet or more in the construction industry. However, they also require that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the height.

Committed to continuous improvement, Surefoot identified potential hazards on their construction sites. These areas, though OSHA compliant, presented potential fall risks and would benefit from the installation of additional precautions like guardrails and toe boards. Surefoot decided to install guardrails at all elevated heights five feet or more and near or around any dangerous equipment. In addition, they installed new covers over all floor holes to ensure the safety equipment wasn’t worn down.

After implementing these changes, Surefoot wanted to assess if fall-safety on their construction sites had improved. Using Minitab Statistical Software again, they used the new injury data from the year and ran a Two Proportions test. Through this analysis, the proportion of falling incidents to total incidents from the previous year is compared to the new proportion of falling incidents to total incidents to see if a statistically significant difference occurred:


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From the comprehensive results provided through Minitab Statistical Software, Surefoot could see that with a p-value of 0.007 there was a significant difference in the two samples. This suggested a strong likelihood that the observed difference in falling incident rates between the two years is not merely due to chance, but rather a genuine consequence of the implemented safety changes. This statistically significant finding provided Surefoot with the evidence to assess the success of their safety initiatives.


The Benefits of Data-Driven Safety

This embrace of data-driven safety serves as an example for the construction industry, highlighting the transformative power of Minitab in cultivating a safer work environment. Companies can eliminate the limitations of guesswork and achieve a clear understanding of how their safety initiatives are impacting the well-being of their workforce and strengthening the security of their business. 

In construction, the average cost per case of fatal or nonfatal injury is $27,000. Data-driven safety empowers companies to make strategic changes, optimize resource allocation, and continuously refine their safety programs. The example we analyzed today highlights how Minitab and statistics can be a transformative tool, promoting worker safety and a company's financial health – a win-win for all stakeholders in the construction industry.

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