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The Fulcrum Focus

Stay in the know with thought leadership, product updates, and latest news on field inspection and data collection topics.

Improve safety, quality, and consistency with digital SOPs

Ubiquitous across industries, a standard operating procedure (SOP) is a series of step-by-step instructions that help workers successfully and efficiently execute routine tasks. While incredibly useful to our everyday work, digital SOPs also have considerable benefits at a wider, enterprise level.

Fulcrum for trick-or-treat with maximum sweets

October 2020 was the turning point in the trick-or-treat journey for young Emily, now 14. “The weather was terrible that day,” she recalls. “I mean, it’s northern Illinois so what do you expect, but really? 34 degrees and sleeting?”

Fulcrum’s new, easy-to-use tools gives field inspectors what they need to succeed

Hi Fulcrum fans! When looking for new ways to improve Fulcrum tools, we go to the source:  our users. We did our homework. We spent time with you and your field teams to understand how Fulcrum could make your jobs easier. Our goal was to enhance your teams’ productivity. As a result of this field research with you, our customers, we’re delighted to introduce new features and functionality. These changes make using Fulcrum more intuitive, user-friendly, and powerful than ever.

Digitizing fire inspections clears backlog and save lives

Trained professionals conduct regular fire safety inspections to save lives. They ensure compliance with safety regulations. In addition, they assess the functionality of equipment, including sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, fire doors, and alarms. Inspectors also check for hazards such as outdated wiring and insulation, contributing significantly to building safety and fire prevention.

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

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

Benefits of digital field inspections for fleet management

If it’s got four (or 18) wheels, sooner or later it will give you problems.  From maintenance headaches to inspection snags to outright accidents, a lot can go wrong when you’re dealing with one vehicle, not to mention a fleet of them. A digital field inspection platform for fleet management can help minimize risk – and address problems when they develop.

Keeping cool when the world is on fire: construction worker heat safety

It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s been a long hot summer: at 40.3°C (104.5°F) the UK logged its hottest day ever, a week-long heatwave in Spain and Portugal saw temps of over 114°F and caused the deaths of over 1,000 people, while in China one of a series of heatwaves brought temperatures in excess of 104°F buckled roads and melted tar roofs. Back in North America, places that were always hot are hotter for longer, while other more temperate locales are regularly seeing record-breaking temps.  Our summer summary? It’s hot, often miserably so, in a lot of the world for months at a time. While many people spend their days in air-conditioned homes and offices, what of those who make their living outdoors?

Closing the loop between field inspection and meaningful action

Does your company use an open-loop or closed-loop field inspection management program? Not sure? In a nutshell, open-loop inspection management means you’re doing inspections, fixing things you note on the spot, but then that’s it.

The danger of food hygiene inspection backlogs – and how a digital field inspection platform can help

By regulating, inspecting, and licensing food providers, local and state health departments ensure the hygiene and safety of the food we eat at all the various points in the supply chain, from distribution centers to grocery stores and restaurants.

Impact of construction labor shortages on safety

As recently reported in a Wall Street Journal article, the construction industry has struggled with labor shortages for some time. The retirement of many older workers is one factor. Young people’s reluctance to enter construction is another. These factors coincide with a construction boom stemming from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, further exacerbating labor shortfalls.

Self-training and self-inspections lead to safer construction sites

According to the latest OSHA statistics on workplace safety, the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous occupational sectors, accounting for over 170,000 nonfatal injuries and representing around 25% of all worker fatalities in the US in 2020 — roughly 3 deaths per day, and the third highest fatality rate of any industry.

Making bridges safer with digital inspections – part 2 of 2

A new hope
The Infrastructure Bill provides states with additional resources to make long overdue infrastructure improvements. Under a program specifically targeting bridges, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) will distribute more than $27.5 billion to states for bridge repairs over the next five years, in addition to a newly-created DoT discretionary bridge program which will provide an additional $12.5 billion for projects through 2026.

Making bridges safer with digital bridge inspection software – part 1 of 2

The day that President Biden arrived in Pittsburgh to give a speech on the Infrastructure Bill – a recently-approved $1 trillion investment in the country’s failing infrastructure – a bridge collapsed just outside the city center. Nobody was killed, but many were injured, and the irony of the timing is striking. The need for making bridges safer is arguably the most visible, serious, and long-standing infrastructure issue targeted by the Infrastructure Bill. Even beyond the tragic loss of life or property damage, a bridge disaster has a chilling effect because of their ubiquity of use, where 178 million trips are taken across structurally deficient bridges every day.

The role of digital field inspections in controlling invasive species

From mussels to birds, hornets to fish, invasive species of every kind are wreaking havoc on people, property, and other species in the ecosystems they invade. This growing problem emphasizes the critical importance of controlling invasive species to mitigate their destructive impact.

Eliminate inspection backlog with digital checklists

After an elevator went into freefall in Atlanta in August 2021, killing one man, it was found that the elevator in question was long overdue for an inspection because, across the state, many had not been inspected in 2020 due to COVID-related inspection backlogs.

Using Fulcrum’s Intelligent Team Automation to unify inspection teams

So, we’ve launched Intelligent Team Automation. You might have seen the video, the webinar,  the press release, or our launch blog – or maybe all the above. Today we’re going to do a little more in-depth analysis into one of the core capabilities of Intelligent Team Automation:  unifying inspection teams while optimizing each role.

Inspections for condo safety

The 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida, tragically resulted in nearly a hundred deaths. This disaster raised serious concerns about condo safety.

How to ensure (and prove) safety and quality under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act introduces new standards for construction and engineering firms. Companies seeking federal funding must now comply with various oversight and evaluation criteria. These criteria span state, local, and federal levels. Compliance is essential for firms to qualify for infrastructure projects under this act.

Transform your tried-and-true to improved-and-new with Intelligent Team Automation

Doing field inspections is nothing new. Even back in the Stone Age, when Fred Flintstone was done with his workday at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company, Mr. Slate probably came around with a stone tablet and a small dinosaur with a sharp beak to chisel in the results of a field inspection of Fred’s work.

Using inspection tech to find leaks and inefficiencies in drinking water delivery

Drinking water comes to you from the 1+ million miles of water pipes that make up America’s water infrastructure system, many of which were put in place in the early-to-mid 1900s. But with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years, this system is starting to show its age.

Trust but verify: combating inspector fraud

In late 2021, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) encountered a severe problem. A former contract worker was accused of falsifying up to 3,000 electric system inspections over two years. The deception was revealed when a power pole, allegedly inspected and declared free of rot, collapsed into a residential backyard. It sent a live electrical wire into a swimming pool, fortunately without causing any injuries.

High-tech solutions to offset low-tech problems

It’s been a wild ride for the construction industry.  First we have the pluses: a surge in construction spending due to pent up demand post-lockdown, $550 billion in federal funding which will spur large infrastructure projects, and a (temporarily) red-hot housing market leading to new residential housing starts increase of 15.6% in 2021. In this dynamic environment, digital field inspection management platforms have become increasingly important.

Buyer’s guide to safety and inspection software

So, you’ve made the decision to stop using paper forms and modernize your firm’s field safety inspection management processes, and you need to pick out a software platform. But how do you know which one is best for your company’s needs? ‍

Combating construction industry burnout

onstruction work is hard. Between long, irregular hours, job insecurity, challenging work environments with extremes in temperature and exposure to the elements, wear and tear on the body, and the threat of injuries, it’s no wonder that construction workers are more at risk of burnout than any other field.

Step up your game with Fulcrum Academy

Construction quality inspections are key to holistic risk management

In its 2021 Global Construction Survey, global auditing firm KPMG reports that nearly 60% of construction and engineering companies interviewed agree that visibility into (and integration of) risks associated with enterprises, portfolios and projects is important for capital project success. Let’s unpack that.

How digital quality inspections can save the day in construction remediation

So, we’ve discussed the problem of construction rework, and the devastating effect it can have on your deadlines and your profits. We’ve also shared how digital quality inspections can help open lines of communication, empower employees to follow the latest processes for quality assurance, and deliver location-based insights to keep supervisors in the know about conditions on-site. But even if you’ve followed all the advice and done everything you can to avoid rework, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Then what?

New hope for lead pipe abatement efforts

Although the use of lead in public water systems was banned in 1986 by the EPA, an estimated 15 to 22 million Americans’ drinking water supply still comes from lead service lines. Now, after 35 years of waffling, grandfathering, and stopgap measures, it looks as though a comprehensive lead pipe abatement initiative is imminent. The recently announced Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan seeks to finally replace lead pipes throughout the country by utilizing funds from the bipartisan infrastructure package as well as the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Not just for OSHA: How digital inspections are the power tool of workplace safety

OSHA makes your company do safety inspections. So do your insurers, your investors, your unions, your contractors, your state and local agencies. At times it may seem like a line of people is at your front door with pen and clipboard in one hand and a flashlight in the other, looking to nitpick and find fault. We invite you to move away from the mindset of the inspection as an annoyance, a deterrent, and a punishment. Instead look at it as a valuable tool with benefits far beyond those of keeping all the clipboard-wielders appeased.

Why you shouldn’t count on OSHA to keep your workers safe

Like most governmental agencies, OSHA is not immune to political will, and the numbers of inspectors can vary wildly from administration to administration.  In 1980, for example, there were 3,063 workplaces for each OSHA inspector; in 2020, there were 9,286.  Further demonstrating OSHA’s diminishment: in 2010, there were the same number of OSHA inspectors (1,106) as there was 30 years earlier, but by January 2019, there were only 875 inspectors, despite the incredible growth in the American workforce.

Avoiding construction project rework through digital quality inspections

Few words make a construction contractor’s heart sink faster than “rework” – redoing or correcting work that was not done correctly the first time. Construction work is all about margins – margins for time, employees, and profit – and these margins are notoriously thin. When something must be redone, or worse, dismantled and then redone, all of these margins quickly evaporate resulting in missed deadlines, cost overruns, and projects failing.

Using safety inspection technology to make inspections less painful (and more powerful)

Physical work can be hard, dirty, and dangerous – and sometimes even deadly. With about 5,000 worker deaths per year, it’s not hard to see why workplaces are so highly regulated, and why safety is such a priority. And the tool that’s at the forefront of keeping workers safe, and companies from running afoul with OSHA, is the safety inspection.

Bolstering an unskilled workforce through quality field inspections

Having problems finding skilled construction workers? You’re not alone. The labor shortage has hit the construction industry particularly hard: home builder contractors estimate that nearly three-quarters of a million construction workers will be needed each year to keep up with demand and account for attrition, while 92% of commercial construction contractors report moderate to high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers.

How effective construction safety programs add to your bottom line

Project safety and bottom line growth

Construction contractors are developing a new way of thinking when it comes to their safety programs. Construction safety inspections and field inspection management are no longer “a necessary evil” but are an integral part of doing good business. They have an effect on the bottom line that extends beyond simply improving insurance premiums.

Why people – not programs – drive safety programs for construction

You can achieve a robust safety program – and the benefits that come with it – by promoting an overall safety-driven culture through your people.  In a biannual survey of contractors, the SmartMarket Report Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 from the Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with CPWR and Newmetrix, make this very clear when it states that “[c]ontractors of all sizes consistently regard safety efforts as people-driven rather than program-driven.”

Target your construction safety training with data-driven insight

The recent Dodge Report on Safety Management in the Construction Industry emphasizes training’s role in safety management. This emphasis is supported by evidence showing contractors’ dedication to worker safety training. Yet, the report identifies a concerning trend: the frequency of training significantly varies between companies and jobs.

Better safety data through digitized inspections

Can you get good inspection data from old inspection collection methods? Probably not. The problems with using a paper-based system instead of digitized inspections to collect safety data are many and far-reaching. Companies that rely on paper checklists to demonstrate OSHA compliance risk running into regulatory trouble.

Adopting digital tools to ensure OSHA compliance

Regardless of industry, OSHA compliance is an ongoing challenge for any company. While agreeing that regulations are necessary to ensure worker safety, people can still note that complying with them can be an incredible burden as companies’ responsibilities include:

How digital inspection data builds better construction safety programs

Better safety programs through digital inspection data

The recent release of the widely-circulated annual SmartMarket Report Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 from the Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with CPWR and Newmetrix, re-confirms one of their long-standing findings: contractors consistently report that safety programs have a wide range of positive impacts on their business as a whole.

Working safer, working smarter: How digital inspections improve OSHA compliance and safety outcomes

OSHA needs proof that companies are doing the right things for employees in terms of health and safety. But how is your company supposed to determine what is right? Being OSHA compliant can be a challenge — companies not only have to provide policies, training and checklists that comply with OSHA requirements, but also bear the burden of determining what it means to be compliant. While OSHA provides extensive guidelines, following them is not always straightforward.
Every company has its own facilities, equipment, workforces, and procedures. Large companies might also operate across jurisdictions, with different kinds of warehouses and workspaces, in different weather conditions, with a wide range of materials and employees of varied experience levels. Every single detail that goes into a company’s operation has he potential to interact with an OSHA requirement in some way, making OSHA compliance a puzzle with many moving parts. How can companies ensure they’re OSHA-ready? How can companies determine what the right checklists, policies, and procedures are for the varied and unique situations they face?  More importantly for your bottom line, how can you make sure you’re OSHA-ready in the most efficient, flexible and productive way? The key is smarter safety through digitization.

How digitization supercharges checklists for utility companies

The timely and hazardous nature of utility fieldwork demands consistent workflows that promote security and rigor. Look no further than tower inspections, where standardized SOPs ensure that different field teams carry out their tasks in the same way each time to get the job done effectively, efficiently, and safely.

New feature alert: File attachments!

File Attachments in Fulcrum
Great news! Today we’re announcing a new file attachment feature that will save inspectors, data collectors, and administrators a ton of work when they need to manage document-based information. Documents are now just another data type: You can add them to any section of your Fulcrum app.

Eyes in the sky, boots on the ground: Fulcrum and Sitemark partner for commercial solar installation and maintenance

Here’s a cool mash-up: AI-powered aerial data platform Sitemark now uses Fulcrum to make it easier and more effective than ever for companies to collect field data, clearly visualize site anomalies, and take action to fix them – all on a mobile device.

The hidden costs of workplace injuries

Any company can pay lip service to safety, but the ones that actually prioritize it are rewarded with stellar safety records, great reputations and low experience modification rates (EMR). So how do you make the jump from lip service to a robust safety program that can reduce workplace injuries?
When getting buy-in for their safety programs from leadership, one of the biggest roadblocks faced by EHS managers is demonstrating the true costs associated with workplace injuries. Everyone knows the direct costs associated with workplace injuries — lost wages, medical costs, fines, lawsuits, etc. — because they are immediately apparent and can be easily tied to a specific incident. Unfortunately, these direct costs are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other indirect costs that are less visible and less easily attributed to any specific injury or incident, but that nonetheless represent a huge drain on resources, at times even more so than the direct costs.

Protecting field teams from electrical hazards: 5 things you need to know

Every year, thousands of workers are injured or killed by electrical hazards, a situation made more tragic because many of these incidents are preventable.

Fulcrum is proud to be SOC 2 compliant

UPDATE: Since this announcement was originally posted, Fulcrum has maintained SOC 2 Type 2 compliance.

It’s time to leave spreadsheets behind

Spreadsheets have their place, but it’s not in the field.

Leveraging location intelligence for actionable insights

Every day, your mobile teams are out in the field, conducting inspections, installing and maintaining infrastructure, following SOPs and ensuring compliance. You may not realize it — or, if you’re ahead of the curve, you do — but every one of those actions generates data.

How data collection software creates digital transformation for utility companies

The work your field technicians do at the front lines is core to your organization, and leveraging the information they collect in the process can help your company make better decisions at every level. That makes your field teams the perfect catalyst to drive your utility’s digital transformation.

How Biden’s infrastructure bill will shake up utility and telecom companies

Touted by the federal government as the biggest public investment since the 1960s — when interstate highways were built and the Space Race was won — President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) aims to create millions of jobs to modernize the country’s crumbling infrastructure and kickstart the economy after recent pandemic-related downturns.

Preventing falls in construction

According to preliminary data from OSHA, fall protection was the most cited violation for 2020 — the 10th year in a row.

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