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4 Ways to Improve Your Construction Safety Efforts

In construction, safety is everything. Of the more than 5,000 fatal injuries that occur on the job in the U.S. every year, approximately 1,430 happened to construction workers. To put this into perspective, about 140 police officers and 70 firefighters are killed annually while on the job.

The grim reality is that accidents, injuries and fatalities occur on every construction work site, large and small. Construction companies can only hope to contain accidents while working hard to make lasting safety improvements and change.

The companies that are making real headway increasing safety are using technology to reduce the number of on-the-job injuries, accidents and fatalities. Safety professionals at the most progressive companies go above and beyond every second of the day to make sure safety measures are being met, preventative measures are being set, and corrective actions are being taken. Safety officers at proactive companies are well-armed with technology, data and information they actually wind up making a difference.

Here are four ways today’s savvy construction companies are improving worksite safety.

  1. Utilize mobile devices

Smartphones and tablets are key to tracking and measuring safety performances and outcomes. They are easy to carry and use in any situation, whether to goal is to conduct an inspection, walk through a job site or perform a Job Safety Analysis (JSA). Mobile devices have built-in features like a camera and GPS that allow managers and safety officers to gather evidence, share it and use it as a teaching tool. According to a recent survey of small and mid-sized construction firms, 80 percent consider mobile technology a high or moderate priority.

  1. Use the right software

The right software or app, combined with mobile technology, will help construction companies centralize, manage and automate safety audits and inspections. The right software will allow you to store, access and search needed information easily and quickly. This includes:

  • Historical data
  • Pictures
  • JSA documentation
  • Inspection documentation
  • Walkthrough documentation
  • Toolbox talks
  • Photos of violations or problems

Look for construction safety software that will allow you to take photos of violations and problems and use your stylus or finger to make notations on them and then attach them to forms while performing inspections. You can also automate workflows and set automatic triggers to kick off time-sensitive Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPA) processes.

There is even software that will allow you to customize your forms to do things like set the latest OSHA guidelines to pop-up within the app at the appropriate time. This is great to use when workers resist a potential hazard or violation warning.

Mobile safety software will track and report on data that will provide insights into your operations with objective data, helping your company make better decisions.

  1. Track and automate CAPAs

Many construction companies still manage their Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPA) with a paper trail, spreadsheets and other antiquated processes. But the key to prevention is to get things fixed as soon as possible as time is of the essence when it comes to safety hazards. The best CAPA software will provide you with the data you need to explain to workers and supervisors why and how they’re doing it wrong and show relevant compliance recommendations directly on your mobile device.

Automation makes the CAPA process even more effective. Automated CAPAs can trigger activities based on a particular entry, event, response or incident. Based on the information generated, appropriate actions can be programmed, such as:

  • An action plan
  • A notification
  • A maintenance request
  • A request for an audit
  • A request for an inspection or re-inspection
  • Automatically route reports
  • Alert the correct person in the company
  • Set up a follow-up or review.

In short, you can automate almost everything and still have access offline.

  1. Leverage your data

Modern construction projects generate a ton of data. For example, today’s average project generates 6.5 terabytes of information, an increase in over 6,000 percent in the last decade. Imagine trying to file 6.5 terabytes of information into a filing cabinet.

Analyzing so much data can help you gain a new understanding of problems that may be occurring on your construction site, while analyzing how well your safety initiatives are performing. With the right kind of data, information can help you generate new ideas and make smarter decisions, and ultimately help you improve the safety performance of your construction sites.

In construction, safety is an important matter. Nothing is more upsetting to a crew than witnessing a serious accident while on the job. Workers want to come to work every day knowing their safety is a top priority. To do this, invest time in training and establishing procedures that prove you won’t tolerate anything less than a safe work environment. But perhaps most importantly, invest in technology that will help you gather and analyze data to demonstrate to workers that you are doing your best to continuously improve safety precautions. Afterall, safety improvement is a worthwhile investment, especially for those in the construction industry.

Lanier Upshaw offers construction businesses a unique risk management program designed to identifying risks and improving your bottom line. We will help you put appropriate insurance coverages in place, improve safety engagement and culture, implement compliance and training programs, empower managers and safety leaders and elevate your corporate culture. Contact us to learn more here…