Best Practices for Construction Site Safety

The Center of Construction Research and Training and Dodge Data & Analytics have partnered on several major studies about construction site safety since 2012. This Brief showcases the findings on site safety best practices that emerged from two 2018 surveys conducted in May and September with the Dodge Contractor Panel. The May survey focused primarily on the use of Lean practices and on the relationship between leadership skills onsite and improved site safety climate. The September survey included questions on materials handling, job site safety and preferred communication methods, all of which are featured in this brief.

This SmartMarket Brief provides new research on best practices for improving construction site safety and offers insights into how the industry can improve its approach to safety.

  • The findings reveal how basic best practices for noise reduction, injury reduction and material procurement and handling are widely known but are not yet standard practices in the industry.
  • The Brief also demonstrates that most contractors do not utilize many of the online resources available to improve safety in these areas, despite the high degree of value reported by those who use them.
  • Research on other strategies, such as mentoring of subcontractors, leadership training for supervisors and foremen, and the use of Lean construction practices, also provides insights into their impact on safety and their use in the industry.


Overall, the findings reveal that while most of the safety best practices featured in this Brief are widely known, few are currently used as standard practices by most firms, although GCs are generally more advanced in best practices than trade contractors. Also, many resources for information on practices are underutilized, especially given the high level of value ascribed to them by those who are using them, which shows that more must be done to make contractors aware of them. Leadership skills by supervisors and foremen can effectively engage onsite teams to help improve construction site safety, and contractors appreciate the importance of those leadership skills.


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