Safety is a top priority at almost every construction company, yet many overlook paper-related risks as a cornerstone of their safety processes. Moving to electronic forms and an online mobile solution for the distribution, collection and analysis of safety-related data can help minimize risk and increase compliance.
It can also reduce the administrative burden on their employees by moving away from paper-based security processes, while gaining the ability to turn real-time data into actionable intelligence.
PROVIDING FIELD INFORMATION
Regular safety meetings, or toolkit discussions, are a proven tool that helps prevent injuries, improve compliance with regulatory requirements, and maintain a culture of safety. However, managing this process can be an ongoing administrative headache. Delivering security documents and forms to the field can limit portability and accessibility, and can create delays.
Through an electronic process, office users can distribute security information and forms instantly. Field users can access it immediately.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR FORMS
Electronic forms provide the ability to quickly and easily generate security forms and customize them. Contractors can add, delete, and create new fields and sections as needed to capture the exact information they need about a specific activity, process, or piece of equipment. Updated forms can then be immediately distributed to those who use them in their work.
With paper, contractors are often forced to settle for generic, one-size-fits-all forms. And images, attachments, timestamps, and GPS information can also be included in electronic forms. These can validate safety data in the field, providing a much higher level of detail and usefulness.
ANTICIPATE AND PREVENT
When contractors use paper forms to document accidents, incidents, near-misses, and other safety-related occurrences, the analysis is a manual process. This can take a lot of time and administrative effort. The transformation of data into actionable intelligence can therefore be delayed and delayed.
Electronic forms for data entry and analysis facilitate the automatic aggregation of safety information and the creation of routine or custom reports and dashboards. Contractors can then use these valuable tools to measure their safety performance and drive continuous improvement. They can also identify trends that can help them predict and prevent future incidents.
For example, a report that compares injury statistics, near-misses, and toolbox discussions across the company might reveal a need for increased training or compliance steps on specific jobsites. Likewise, effective analytics could identify a trend of single-person accidents, alerting supervisors that additional training is needed.
Real-time alerts and notifications have tremendous utility and benefits in digitized construction workflows. These tools, made possible by the shift from paper to electronic forms, can also improve security. An event such as an injury or accident reported on a form field can trigger an immediate alert.
A foreman checking “yes” on an accident form field asking if there were bodily injuries could trigger an immediate message to a superintendent or safety officer or operator using a similar piece of equipment. Getting the information right away can help them respond appropriately or prevent a similar incident.
Inspections are a daily process for most contractors. Documenting progress, improving quality and reducing costs are the primary goals, but site and equipment inspection processes also have important safety aspects. Catching problems as quickly as possible can prevent injuries.
When paper is part of the inspection process, it can take a week or two for the inspection forms to get to someone who can act, and the lag time can be catastrophic. Since electronic inspection forms can be submitted instantly, they help reduce the time gap between field, shop and office. Potential risks identified during a site inspection can be addressed quickly, faster.
Greg Norris is Director of Marketing Communications at B2W Software.