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Honoring Contractor-Focused Safety Innovations

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The King Kombo ladder was the Grand Prize winner of the 2020 Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Awards.
The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction honors innovative evidence-based technologies, work practices, and programs (interventions) designed to reduce or eliminate construction hazards.

Contractors are always on the hunt for ways to improve and update their safety programs, but they often face difficulties when  foraging through the many new safety initiatives introduced each year. Annual safety awards frequently showcase a mixed bag of new products and services that serve a broad range of businesses, but contractors benefit most from robust, scalable, and dynamic innovations that are targeted to the challenges of a job site.

Fortunately there’s an annual safety recognition program that focuses on helping contractors meet job site safety and health challenges. The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction honors innovative evidence-based technologies, work practices, and programs (interventions) designed to reduce or eliminate construction hazards.

Sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance and administered by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training the award welcomes nominations from US-based non-profits, for-profits, academic institutions, and individuals. Along with the recognition, the award includes a $15,000 cash prize to the winning submission, along with possible honorable mentions, each with a $5,000 prize.

Innovations that can quickly improve safety

This award, which was given out for the first time in the spring of 2020, is more than just another product recognition program. It’s a concerted effort to improve construction safety now. Leaders at CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training and at Liberty Mutual want to encourage the rapid inclusion of safety innovation into practice. Submissions for the 2021 award must have been released (published, patented, or made available for use or sale) during the period from January 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021.

The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction was created in partnership with CPWR to showcase and reward recent innovations in research and technology within the construction industry. “For this award, innovation does not only equate with new technology; it can also be for unique practices and programs that lead to safer worksites”, said Rick Rinehart, CPWR’s Deputy Director.

Encouraging rapid inclusion creates a safer job environment that accelerates contractor productivity. “As a leading provider of commercial insurance to general and sub-contractors, we work with our policyholders to improve safety in order to prevent the injuries that needlessly impact the bottom line, workers, and project delivery and quality,” said George Brogmus, Product Director, Liberty Mutual Risk Control Services.

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The Suckabucket, which reduces airborne contaminates when mixing dry materials, was an Honorable Mention in the 2020 awards.

Focused on Construction

The submissions must be focused on mitigating jobsite safety hazards including electrocutions, falls from heights to lower levels, causes of musculoskeletal disorders, exposure to occupational diseases, same-level slips, trips and falls, risks from struck-by or caught-in/between conditions, and trenching and excavation conditions.  The scoring criteria reflects this construction focus.

Each submission must include:

  • Evidence that the innovation will:Improve safety climate; reduce or eliminate a hazard or exposure; or reduce injuries/illnesses.
  • Be scalable to small construction firms, those with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Provide contractors a financial benefit as measured by return on investment relative to innovation costs.
  • Improve project management practices, such as procurement, selection of contractors, or how work is organized, including prevention considerations at the design phase of construction work.
  • Be viable and exhibits a strong likelihood of contractor acceptance.

A Path for Future Innovations

The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction offers manufacturers and researchers serving the construction industry an opportunity to continue their efforts knowing there is a path for recognition.“Even with significant progress in construction safety and health, our industry still has much room to improve protection of workers from illnesses, injuries, and fatalities,” said CPWR’s Rinehart. And with industry support, this initiative has a strong future. “We are pleased to partner with CPWR to promote and recognize safety innovation through the Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction, which goes to a researcher or team for an outstanding safety intervention or technology,” said Brogmus.

To learn about the 2020 Winner and Honorable Mention, visit cpwr.com/safetyinnovationaward.

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