The construction industry requires work that often by its very nature is dangerous. Everyone has seen the photos of workers sitting on steel beams sitting hundreds of feet above the ground. While safety regulations have come a long way since the golden era of the skyscraper in the early part of the 20th century, construction remains an inherently risky industry and many workers simply accept that risk, knowing that dangerous work is just part of the job. So, when it comes to making safety a focus and part of your day-to-day operations, it’s no surprise that many construction companies have a hard time getting buy in from their most at-risk employees, their field personnel. Fortunately, technology can help! Here are a few ways safety program management solutions can take safety from a board room priority and make it a reality in the field.
1. Improve Communication and ease of access –
When it comes to enforcing safety standards often the most common feeling among workers is confusion. Having to sort through multiple forms and checklists that can easily be misplaced and are not always easy to understand. It’s not surprising that many people simply check off the box and move on. With modern mobile solution like Safety Reports, the barriers for back-office teams to communicate with field teams is easily overcome. Any confusion that emerges when implementing safety processes can quickly be resolved with seamless communication between field, warehouse, and back-office teams.
Beyond direct communication, solutions like ToolWatch offer tool tracking technology that goes far beyond simply tracking the location of tools. In an automated fashion ToolWatch can keep track of tool and equipment condition to ensure that safety conditions are up to regulations for any piece of equipment used by one of your workers. With technologies like BLE (Bluetooth low energy) tool tracking workers can be given automated messages to alert them when a piece of equipment is in need of a safety inspection and can even give specific pieces of advice on how to safely use equipment like “make sure the shoulder strap is tightened before use”. When it comes to increasing communication modern construction operations solutions not only help people more easily interact with each other, but they are also able to seamlessly integrate company, and tool data and deliver that data to relevant stakeholders in an automated process free from human error. The ease of access for this information enables easy communication throughout an organization that allows problems to be identified and fixed before they cause any safety incidents.
2. Simplify and Systematize Processes –
For new and unfamiliar processes, it’s common for beginners to make a significant number of mistakes, especially if the processes and requirements are complex. This is no different when going through safety protocols and checklists. Particularly when dealing with volatile labor market that construction is going through, being able to quickly execute your safety checklists with new workers while not having to sacrifice time or standards can be very difficult. Modern safety solutions simplify both the process and walk users through these processes by offering easy to access, digital forms that do most of the organizational work for you in a deliberately simplified manner to reduce confusion and mistakes.
The best safety technologies completely remove paper forms from your safety processes and provide easy to understand processes that can be quickly completed while also helping to raise safety performance. Solutions like these can drastically improve the speed with which these processes can be completed. This reduces the time and stress related to completing safety-related tasks, and it frees up workers’ time to spend on other, productivity-driving tasks.
3. Streamline Compliance Reporting –
As mentioned above, often the most common emotion of workers towards safety inspections is confusion. When reviewing OSHA safety standards and reporting practices for the first time one can be forgiven for feeling like they are trying to decipher a foreign language. Between the dense legal writing and enormous number of regulations it’s very easy for workers to get lost. Luckily with modern safety solutions, compliance reporting can be setup to ensure total clarity for your workers. With Safety Reports’ inspection app, these processes can be setup in a way that ensures that workers will not have to worry that they are forgetting an important step and the entire process is significantly faster versus using paper forms.
To submit reports, users will simply have to check yes or no next to items on the applicable checklist. On job sites clients, and mangers often demand high levels of productivity to ensure that projects come in within budget and on time. So, it’s no wonder that when safety processes involve long and confusing drills, many quickly abandon them and move on to tasks that they see as more important. Increasing the ease of use of safety applications is without a doubt one of the most significant variables required to improve construction safety operations. Regardless of the quality of your employees, systems, and technologies, if workers have difficulty using them and end up burning precious time the solution will not get adoption and safety performance will suffer.
For anyone who has been in the construction industry for a long enough time, the vital importance of safety is self-evident. Given enough time, most workers will witness first-hand the consequences of lax safety standards. But with the day-to-day minutiae and pressing deadlines that construction projects often require, it’s tempting to allow safety to take a back seat to what appear to be more pressing issues. Fortunately, safety management solutions can help embed safety into your company’s day-to-day operations and thus your company culture. By doing so, not only can safety performance be improved but you can also reduce your risk exposure, operating expenses, and improve profitability, a win-win for the employees and the company.
In February of 2022 ToolWatch acquired Safety Reports, a leading provider of safety program management solutions for construction and other industries. The addition of Safety Reports expands upon ToolWatch’s ability to help companies with significant construction operations reduce risk and run their businesses more efficiently, more cost-effectively and more profitably.
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