Project Management Institute

Construction project management and safety

do labor unions have an effect?

In business in general, and construction in particular, a battle has long been waged over job safety, and whether or not unions have a beneficial effect in the area of workplace safety. One recent study has even indicated that, contrary to the claims of organized labor, union job sites have higher fatality rates than non-union sites. Our research used different indicators to assess job safety in construction. We utilized nearly 3,000 inspections by OSHA, from 1989 to 1994, to determine whether in fact there were safety differences between union and non-union construction firms. Results indicated that on three major dimensions-lost workday injuries, total violations, and percentage of serious violations -union firms had fewer incidences than non-union organizations. These findings are discussed within the context of project management.
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