Approved by the Construction Institute on September 6, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 6, 2020
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 11, 2020


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) believes site safety is paramount during construction and requires attention and commitment from all parties involved during project planning, design, construction, and commissioning. All organizations and individuals involved in a project can influence safety on the project and therefore their involvement in addressing safety is important.

  • Safety success is addressed for each project on a project specific basis starting in project planning and continuing through design and construction. The extent to which a party is expected to contribute to safety on a project is based on the extent to which the party's scope of work and responsibilities affect the safety of the workers and public. Safety roles and responsibilities of each party should be explicitly delineated in contracts executed for the project.
  • Owners have ultimate responsibility for ensuring adequate project safety oversight for specific organization(s) or individual(s) on the project. Owners may enlist a General Contractor (Construction Manager) to supplement project management and delegate a certain level of authority to such General Contractor. Responsibilities with respect to site safety should be assigned to an organization or individual based on the organization or individual's level of creation and control of the safety hazards that will be present on the project and to affect the implementation of safety practices/procedures to eliminate, reduce or mitigate those safety hazards.
  • Design Professionals have the responsibility for considering the safety of those who are affected by the design, and for recognizing that site safety and constructability are important considerations when preparing construction plans and specifications.
  • Prime/General Contractors have the responsibility for control of the overall worksite during construction and for complying with all applicable safety regulations. Constructors should proactively lead, manage and maintain the safety of their own employees, be aware of safety programs instituted on site by others and ensure that all other employers onsite proactively manage and maintain the safety of their employees while on the site. Subcontractors and suppliers have the responsibility for complying with all applicable safety regulations and shall proactively manage the safety of their own employees in their facilities. They should be aware of safety programs instituted on site by others and comply with those safety programs while on the site.
  • The construction industry should continually strive to improve jobsite safety through innovation and advancements in work operations, working conditions, project management techniques, education, training, and designs. In addition, the construction industry should actively participate in formulating improvements to safety regulations and legislation.


Construction sites have the potential to expose workers and the public to safety hazards that pose high levels of risk of injury and fatality. The construction industry experiences some of the highest rates of injuries and fatalities. Improving safety in construction necessitates continued and increased attention to create a culture of safety from all parties involved in a project. The need to protect both workers and the public from injury due to construction operations and site conditions is ever present.

Coverage of construction site safety within university engineering design curricula is commonly minimal to non-existent.

Numerous incidents have been attributed to a lack of clear responsibilities for safety, field inspection, and development, final review, and approval of construction documents. There is no clear consensus on an industry standard as to who (the designer, contractor, erector, supplier, manufacturer/fabricator, or detailer) should have ultimate responsibility for the development and approval of construction documents that cover connection details, shoring, formwork, and other project critical items.

Laws and regulations administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide technical guidance and requirements to the construction industry on how to work safely. Compliance with OSHA regulations is recognized as the minimum that is required; safety practices should be project-specific and go above and beyond the OSHA requirements to attain injury-free outcomes.


The safety, health, and welfare of people who are involved in, interact with, and affected by construction projects are paramount. Safe construction sites can be effectively achieved through a committed, cooperative relationship between the owner, architect, engineers, general contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, construction manager, safety professionals, construction workers, labor unions, regulatory agencies, industry associations and institutes, academia, legal counsel, and insurance professionals.

ASCE Policy Statement 350
First Approved in 1989