How to Alleviate Risk Management by Building with ICFs
The anticipated home construction boom in 2021 will give builders a significant opportunity to grow their businesses. However, labor shortages of particularly skilled and experienced workers creates a challenge for contractors to complete projects on time and budget. With such difficulty filling open positions, contractors must limit job site injuries and loss of workdays through ongoing safety education and avoiding dangerous building methods, like wood-frame construction.
The stack and fill process of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) wall systems provides contractors with peace of mind by avoiding injuries associated with wood-framing. By utilizing fast and easy-to-install ICFs walls, contractors can improve job site safety, protect their employees, save money, and keep their projects on schedule.
Labor Shortage’s Impact on Job Site Safety
The 2021 first-quarter commercial construction index cites that in 2019, 85 percent of contractors found moderate to high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers. Eighty-eight percent voiced concern about their workers lacking adequate skill levels - a critical problem for risk management. The continued lack of skilled construction laborers has driven many contractors to hire young or inexperienced employees, who often are less cautious and likely to follow safety protocols. Notably, OSHA cites that workers 25 years old and younger sustain injuries two times more than senior workers. Furthermore, during workers' first year on the job, 34.9 percent suffer injuries.
Alleviating your employees' risk of injury may make the difference between a successful building year and a disappointing one. Training and mandating job site safety measures will protect your employees and keep the project budget.
The High Risk of Wood-Frame Construction
In the U.S, 93 percent of new single-family homes use wood-frame construction, 7 percent use concrete, and less than half a percent use steel-framing. The dangerous work of framing puts more workers at risk than any other construction specialty. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that in 2019, framing contractors had an incidence rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses of 7 per 100 workers﹘the highest of all the construction categories, with an average rate of 2.8 per 100 employees.
Wood-frame workers falling from scaffolding, rooftops, or ladders account for many of the injuries, resulting in fractures, strains, sprains, contusions, severe damage to internal organs, and even death. Tools, debris, building materials, pieces of scaffolding, or other supplies falling from significant heights, can also seriously injure workers.
Alleviating Risk Management with ICFs
ICF worksites are typically very clean making them safe for workers, eliminating tripping hazards. Building insulated concrete form (ICF) walls involves dry-stacking of engineered expanded polystyrene foam blocks that interlock together to form above- and below-grade walls. After bracing and reinforcing the forms, skilled workers place concrete into the hollow form panels.
The stack and fill process of ICFs, like Fox Blocks, offers an innovative building method and product that promotes job site safety (compared to wood-framing), limiting employees’ injuries and keeping their projects on schedule and budget.
Reduce Labor Needs with Easy to Install ICFs
Easy, quick, and safe to install Fox Blocks wall system is an all-in-one wall assembly that integrates five steps into one, including structure, air barrier, insulation, vapor retarder, and attachment. The all-in-one feature eliminates the need to coordinate multiple trades, saving time and reducing crew size — fewer workers means less chance of job site injury.
Lightweight ICFs lessens worker injuries during construction and could possibly lower insurance rates. 36 percent of job site injuries involving missed work days due to shoulder and back injuries from lifting heavy items.
ICFs are modular units set in interlocking panels and blocks to complete the wall. ICF construction tremendously limits the risk of falling from a significant height. Tragically, falls cause the most fatal injuries in construction, often during the framing process.
ICF construction does not use the dangerous nail guns that are required for wood-frame construction. The CDC reports that nail guns cause an estimated 37,000 emergency room visits each year, often from puncture wounds to the fingers and hands but also more severe injuries and even deaths.
Improving Job Site Safety with Fox Blocks ICFs
Skilled construction labor is at a premium, with no relief on the horizon. Contractors must do all they can to protect their workers from injury — for both their safety and the timely and financial success of their projects. Fox Blocks lightweight ICFs' stack and fill method alleviates risk management and creates a safer job site with less fall risk, nail gun accidents, and back, shoulder, and muscle injuries than occurs with wood-frame construction.
Contact a professional at Fox Blocks today to learn more about alleviating risk management and achieving peace of mind by building with ICF.