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Contractors with top safety records double in eight years

The percentage of UK contractors achieving a zero accident incidence rate has more than doubled over the past eight years, according to new information from Constructing Excellence.

The organisation’s 2009 key performance indicators have revealed a continued improvement in the proportion of companies posting no reportable incidents, up to 63 per cent this year from 60 per cent last year.

The figure is a significant improvement on the 31 per cent of companies hitting this benchmark back in 2002 – the first year Constructing Excellence began reporting on contractor’s zero accident data.

Data for the mechanical and electrical sector in particular shows that, for the fifth year in a row, contractors have improved their safety performance – with 55 per cent of all companies achieving zero reportable accidents. This is up from 50 per cent in 2008 and 31 per cent also in 2002.

But Constructing Excellence warned the results were in fact “a little mixed”.

Construction’s overall accident incidence rate worsened slightly to 906 per 100,000 workers, compared to the 865 reported last year.

The increase suggests that, while many larger contractors have improved their safety records, injuries may be increasingly plaguing SME sites.


Levels of staff turnover, excluding the recent spate of recession-driven redundancies, have actually dipped over the past 12 months – down from 6.3 per cent in 2008 to just 4.2 per cent this year.

The data, revealed in Constructing Excellence’s annual KPI’s, reflects a significant reduction in voluntary job mobility during the economic downturn.

The figure – which is a measure of natural “churn” as opposed to redundancy – has in fact shown a steady decline in recent years, down from 7.7 per cent back in 2003.

But despite a drop in the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs in 2009, employee satisfaction has also suffered a blow.

Just 44 per cent of employees said they were satisfied with their work situation at present, compared with 46 per cent last year and 47 per cent the year before.

Under KPI rules, in order for a score to be deemed “satisfactory”, a figure of 8 out of ten has to be reached.

Employee satisfaction has taken a hit over the past few years, down from a peak of 55 per cent in 2006.

Skills levels have also reached new lows, suggesting a loss of experienced workers during the recession.

Research found the median percentage of employees with NVQ Level 2 qualifications or better fell to 22 per cent, from 25 per cent in 2008 and a high of 40 per cent in 2006.

  • Sickness Absence mained unchanged for the third year in a row at a median of 1.7 days per employee.
  • Working hours have levelled out over the past five years at a median of 40 hours per week.
  • Pay levels continued to rise. The median gross weekly wage is now £512 per week, up from £495 last year.
  • Training days improved to an average 1.1 days per employee per year – compared to 1 day a year in 2008.

Constructing excellence KPIs - Respect for People

Employee satisfactio% scoring 8/10 or better46%44%
Staff turnover - all companiesMedian % staff turnover6.3%4.2%
Sickness Absence - all companiesMedian number of days lost1.71.7 1.7
Safety - industry*Accident incident rate865906
Safety - contractors - all companies †% achieving zero accident incidence rate60%63%
Working hoursMedian usual hours worked/week4040
Travelling timeMedian travel time to work/day (mins)2525
Qualifications and SkillsMedian % of direct employees qualified to NVQ level 2 or higher25%22%
Equality and Diversity% scoring 8/10 or better56%60%
TrainingMedian annual training days/full-time equivalent employee11.1
Investors in people † †Mean % of direct employees covered by IIP commitment/recognition12.4%17.6%

* Based on company annual accident incidence rate published by the Health and Safety Executive
† Based on company annual accident incidence rates collected in the DTI Contractor Survey adjusted for underreporting
† † Based on Investors in People UK Ltd latest industry average performance

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