Now 10 years old, Construction Safety Week has evolved. What at first was a national industry stand-down to emphasize safety compliance has grown into a coordinated week of training across the country and advocacy of a cause that reflects changing ideas about the role of workers to shape how construction tasks are done and to recognize jobsite hazards. 

This year’s theme is “Value Every Voice,” with the largest industry-wide construction stand-down ever held set for May 8. On the Safety Week website, there also is a “my voice, my vote” page where employees are invited to explain how and why every voice should be valued. Companies that participate in the event, set this year for May 6-10, will be ranked based on the percentage of employees who record their views on the website page:

“The first year was more about commitment to safety, joining arms and coming together as industry to focus on the importance of safety,” says Dan Johnson, CEO of Mortenson and 2024 Construction Safety Week chairman. “But over time we scratched at what makes safety performance better. Member firms concluded that when we engage craftworkers and [they] feel ownership, that’s when safety improves.”

Started by 40 companies, Construction Safety Week was formally branded in 2016. This year, there are about 90 firms that are members and sponsors, as well as other financial supporters and thousands of participants.

 The Construction Safety Week website is a safety communications tour de force. There are video testimonials by managers and craftworkers in the field—including Spanish and French translations that are a vital acknowledgement of the still-growing number of immigrants working in the industry. 

Viewers can also see a video about why safety helmets beat hard hats. The videos portray workers not as skillful, hard-working individuals who largely labor on their own, but as an “everyone here is worthy” network of caring colleagues. There are sophisticated tips on how to reach out to local media on safety and providing information with impact, complete with a sample news release and talking points.

Several important concepts not featured prominently on the website could be included in the future. One example is stop-work authority, which is commonly encouraged for craftworkers at properly managed jobsites, or “non-punitive incident reporting”—another centerpiece of modern safety practice. Those ideas seem implied with Construction Safety Week’s current theme and messaging, although it is more in the style of “if you see something, say something.”

We would also suggest mentioning the documented link between project safety and quality—an important business benefit.

Nurturing a safety culture doesn’t always translate into execution in the field.

But Construction Safety Week, established over the last decade, offers a rich and compelling toolbox for safety training and inspiration for why all on the jobsite must be safety-minded. As something many have yet to achieve, this makes a compelling case for safety as a 52-week-a-year obsession.