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How digital field safety inspection software helps you do more with less

By Linda Schwefel
October 10, 2022

If you’re a safety manager, it sometimes might feel as though the world is conspiring against you.

Now that crushing lockdowns are in the rear view, and supply chain woes are easing up, things can finally go back to normal.

But then the experienced workers you counted on retired, or left the industry, or just disappeared.

It’s not that bad. We’ve got enough work that we can just hire newer workers and train them. They’ll be cheaper too. 

Except wages are rising at their fastest pace since the Federal Reserve Bank started tracking them in 1997 – a 6.2 percent average increase in just one year. Even worse, inexperienced workers are much more likely to be injured: nearly half of all workers injured on the job have less than a year of experience.

Maybe we can tempt a couple of our retired workers back, show the new kids the ropes. 

Not a bad thought, except that “boomerang workers” (those that return to a job after resigning) earn about 25 percent more when they return.

There’s a lot of pent-up demand for what we do, and plus the infrastructure bill is going to have things going like gangbusters. We’ll do what we have to do, hire who we need to hire. We’ll be making enough money that it’ll be worth it. 

Except now there is a threatened recession (many think there already is one).  Hiring intentions fell to their lowest level since 2011, while job cuts have jumped 68 percent from September 2021.

At least OSHA has eased up a little over the past few years, and there are a lot fewer inspections. As long as I continue to keep my staff safe, I don’t have to worry so much about compliance. 

Don’t count on it.  Between the House and the Senate, OSHA is poised to receive at least a 10 percent increase in operating budget in 2023, while President Biden’s proposed budget calls for a staggering 49 percent increase in OSHA’s Standards and Guidance Division. In addition, OSHA has ramped up staffing initiatives, hiring 400 new employees in one month, including inspectors and whistleblower investigators.

I give up. What can be done?

Chin up!  We’ve got the prescription for a lot of what ails you, simply in the form of a field safety inspection tool that helps you do more with less.

Worker performing a digital field safety inspection in a manufacturing plantDoing more with less

‍Less experience

Digital field inspection software steers inexperienced workers. Preloaded maps get them to the right place without guesswork. Step-by-step instructions lead them through what they need to do, with checklists for follow-along ease of use, and conditional fields only shown if they’re relevant.

Reference photos included within the field inspection app give the novice worker guidance in the field. And finally, once a task is done, the worker adds a photo to a record, and a manager hundreds of miles away can take a look to make sure everything looks as it should, reducing the likelihood of required do-overs.

Less time

With field safety inspection software, your workers don’t have to return to the office to upload, do data entry, or laboriously create reports from the data. In addition, as one of Fulcrum’s clients noted, report writing went from comprising about two-thirds of the inspection process to nearly zero – a huge bonus when it comes to compiling the information you need to keep on the good side of OSHA or any other regulator.

Fewer workers

And as an offshoot of the less time benefit noted above, companies using a digital field safety inspection tool find they save enough time that they need fewer people to do the same (or more!) work. A Fulcrum client that performed pillar inspections for a utility discovered that with Fulcrum, it was able to increase its inspection rate by one-third with a staff reduction of one-third – in other words, getting 33 percent more work using 33 percent fewer employees!

Less money

As the adage goes, save time to save money. When you are saving time doing field inspections, a return on your software investment costs can be incredibly quick. For example, one client realized the full cost of an annual subscription in a month by digitizing its safety program! Recognizing the potential for time and cost savings, the client enthusiastically adopted Fulcrum for additional use cases.

The silver lining

While the news might be more doom-and-gloom than you thought you’d be a year ago, it’s not all bad. Safety managers face unprecedented challenges. Now is the ideal time to advocate for the transition to digital field safety inspections. This move saves time, money, and reduces headaches, ensuring you’re better prepared for future challenges.

‍Ready to improve your safety posture through digital inspections? Contact one of our Fulcrum experts today to get started!