The Future of Hiring and Challenges of HR Directors in Construction: Safety and Compliance

The Future of Hiring and Challenges of HR Directors in Construction: Safety and Compliance

Safety has always been an important topic in the construction industry, and that continues to be the case as the number of risks continues to increase. Year-over-year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that construction-related accidents and fatalities are increasing. Today, companies need to hire not just highly trained professionals to help with the day-to-day work in a safe manner but also safety and compliance officers who are continuously working on risk mitigation

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, in 2019, 1,102 people died from injuries sustained in the construction industry. That accounts for 20.7% of all workplace fatalities in the U.S. That year, there was also an estimated 79,660 nonfatal injuries in the private construction industry. Many of these lead to expensive and rising workers’ compensation costs, with an average increase of 7% across the board. 

Reducing the risk of worker injury is the only way to minimize these costs. This is done with the aid of hiring well-trained professionals for all positions in the company.

Safety Remains a Top Priority in the Construction Industry 

Safety is a priority for most executives in the construction industry. While no employer wants to see employees hurt on the job, from just a financial perspective, it can be critical. When an individual suffers an injury on a construction site:

  • That worker needs medical care
  • Other workers must pick up the slack, pushing them to work longer hours with less safety in place
  • New trainees to replace an out-of-work injured employee means a less-experienced person on the job
  • Productivity is impacted
  • Project delays occur
  • Projects become harder to complete

The Future of Hiring in a Safety-Focused Industry

HR professionals are tasked with two key things: 

  • Position the company to have a safety-first culture to attract employees who expect to work in a safe work environment 
  • Hire a skilled and experienced safety compliance officer to meet the changing goals in the workforce

While college and trades programs are incorporating more safety-focused initiatives in curriculum and certifications, HR professionals are still tasked with navigating which employees applying for tasks are going to positively create or contribute to a safe culture. The future of HR in construction, from a safety and compliance focus, revolves around strategies like the following:

Hire Employees Well-Versed in a Safety Culture

A core component of the hiring process should be to examine how safety-focused prospective employees are:

  • Do they have any safety-focused training?
  • Have they worked in a previous company that is noted for its safety-focused environment?
  • What do they think about a safety focus?
  • Do they understand OSHA regulations?
  • Are they the type of people to cut corners to get the job done faster? Reviewing performance skills can provide some insight here. 

The Biggest Challenges HR Professionals Have in Safety and Compliance

What makes it hard to hire HR professionals in this area?

  • Lack of skilled workers who have a safety-oriented frame-of-mind with the skills necessary to do the job 
  • Offering competitive packages to attract highly trained safety compliance officers that may require higher pay or more lucrative benefits
  • Determining which potential employees are a risk (such as knowing if workers have safety training and experience that’s reliable or if they will create a risk for the company)

Finding talented professionals to minimize safety risks isn’t easy today. More so, with a labor shortage in some areas, HR professionals have to walk a tightrope of hiring inexperienced individuals who increase risk.

How to Overcome These Challenges 

A safe workplace is an attractive feature for many of today’s construction employees. Creating that environment is the first step. HR professionals may need to create solutions for overcoming hiring challenges, for example, you could:

  • Refine your hiring practices, advertising, and job descriptions to focus on a safety-first culture.
  • Recruit talent based with the goal of training — to fill in gaps that may not be available in underskilled new hires, and communicate the availability of these programs to potential candidates.
  • Pay competitive wages to draw in the safety-oriented employees and compliance officers needed. Ensure benefits packages are competitive as well.
  • Offer training programs aimed at improving safety and compliance to potential employees who may not have certifications, widening the gap between potential candidates.

How MRINetwork Can Help You

As a competitive, industry-leading executive search firm, MRINetwork has the tools and resources to help you to hire safety and compliance-focused professionals for all levels of your company. Because construction companies view safety as paramount to the success of the company, every employee you onboard, especially at the upper management levels, must have demonstrated skill.

We can help you to find those professionals. Learn more about our opportunities and capabilities at MRINetwork. We can help you build a safer workforce.