Enhancing Construction Worker Safety Performance Using Leading Indicators

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



Worker safety and health continue to be a huge concern for the construction industry. Construction contractors are always looking for new ideas that will help improve their company’s safety performance. One such idea is the utilization of safety performance indicators as part of contractor safety programs. There is no guidance in the safety literature to the contractors on the most effective leading indicators. The purpose of the study was to evaluate selected leading indicators under real project conditions and develop recommendations for their use by construction contractors. Three types of leading indicators were selected and tested for the study: pretask plan (PTP) review, worker safe behavior observation (WSBO), and site safety audits. To evaluate the leading indicators under real project conditions, a large construction project was selected from the western United States. It was found that pretask plan review and worker safe behavior observation can be used by contractors as leading indicators as part of their safety program. A WSBO is a better leading indicator compared with a PTP review indicator. These two indicators can help construction companies to devise intervention methods that can fix any weakness identified before there is an injury or incident. The paper provides two guidance checklists for contractors interested in implementing a WSBO and PTP review leading indicator program.


This article was originally published in Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction


© 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.