Keeping workers safe is a top priority for every construction organisation. A recent analysis of the most dangerous jobs in Australia ranked the industry third overall, with over 12,500 serious injuries in 2015 alone. Teletrac Navman’s recent benchmarking survey discovered a third of construction operations are implementing new technologies and systems. Technology becomes a great opportunity to improve your on-site safety operations.
Implementing a thorough safety plan can be a challenge for any site manager. The survey results reveals that technology is going to play a big part in the process of improving practices. Effective safety strategy involves detecting issues before they become problems to quash instances and reduce increasing trends. Where do you begin? You need open lines of communication and visibility across every single project, employee and asset. Eliminating risk entirely from your business is impossible, but there’s always opportunities to be more proactive about safety and reduce risk.
Have the Conversation
Plans are made so they can easily be put into action, especially for your off-site employees such as drivers or machinery operators. Yet they’re often left out of the discussion and only brought in once the policies and procedures are finalised and looking to be implemented. While your induction process might be informative it’s hard to know how effective it really is without feedback from the employees who are out on-site every day. A conversation about their safety needs to be just that - a two-way exchange of information between you and your staff.
Whether you’re considering new practices or evaluating the effectiveness of current policies, an open discussion with your employees, no matter their role, is important. Employees want to feel comfortable talking to you about their working environment. A 2015 study from Safe Work Australia shows that while 90 per cent of employers think their work place has a great level of communication, 40 per cent of employees cite lack of education and training to be the main contributor to injuries. To ensure nothing gets lost in translation, ensuring all employees understand safety procedures before setting out on a job is important – it could form part of a pre-start checklist!
Making a Game Plan
Outlining where safety might fall short across the business is just the first step. Getting issues faced by your staff out in the open can unify your work culture, figuring out the go-to strategy is the next step. Technology allows you to analyse trends instead of focusing on one-off issues. For example, the cause of an accident could have resulted from many previous failures that only telematics data could indicate.
Focusing the plan on what is integral within your business is important to remember. While heights might be the main cause of fatality in construction, it’s not necessarily worth being a major focus if your business develops smaller, ground-level projects. Fleet management solutions and telematics helps you to keep track of safety issues across your multi-asset fleet. Providing an in-cabin device for drivers to complete electronic forms that suit each job site can help to minimise future risks by converting data into reports that can be used to implement preventative measures.
Recognising Your Exposure to Risks
Without the proper visibility and communication that technology brings, there is no exact way to measure how effective your safety plans are – you wouldn’t want to wait around for an accident to find out! Implementing GPS fleet tracking technology and safety analytics helps to establish a baseline to work toward and come in-line with industry standards, while outlining problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Setting up geofences across multiple construction projects is a great way to set up parameters for large-scale equipment and vehicles. Alerts are sounded to drivers when they go off-site or get too close to surrounding vehicles. Real-time SMS notifications also let you and your employees know of speeding or harsh braking instances in real-time. Data is then compiled into a monthly report so you can review what’s working and what needs improvement. This means you can actively fix potential issues, rather than reacting once they get out of hand.
You Can’t Be Too Prepared
A true journey to a safe work environment doesn’t end. Constant review of policies and changes to behaviour will ensure your business is always at the top of its game.
Having regular discussions with staff will make sure safety is a top priority. By involving your workers in the planning process, identifying unsafe trends and implementing regular policy reviews, safety will become ingrained in your company culture.