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

June 14, 2022

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.

The risk of injury in construction remains a serious, ongoing issue for all stakeholders, from on-site workers who directly face safety hazards, construction contractors paying costly insurance premiums, and finally customers impacted by delays accidents can cause.

Exacerbating the problem, however, is that the industry has often lost sight of the humans at the frontlines of construction safety — the workers themselves. Occupying less visible roles in a project’s scope, workers rarely have the tools to actively manage their own safety, even though they are optimally positioned to quickly identify safety hazards cropping up in any job site.

Construction workers need a louder voice in keeping themselves safe. Empowering them to be the eyes and ears of a robust safety program requires self-regulation, self-inspection, and an open communication channel to report and remediate safety issues. Leading digital field data inspection platforms are designed to do exactly this — enhance self-regulation and self-inspection by combining easy cloud access, quick and reliable data collection, and the open circulation of critical safety information in real time.

Here are three ways that digital field inspection platforms give workers a clear and loud voice in their own safety management, forming the backbone of a comprehensive and company-wide safety culture in which everyone is an active participant.

The power of the checklist

The humble checklist in digital field inspections holds tremendous potential to help workers improve job safety. Digital platforms like Fulcrum let you custom-build checklists specifically tailored to your unique work and safety requirements.

Guidelines, whether OSHA or company policies, are often broad and ambiguous, making daily application challenging for workers. Cloud-connected digital checklists are easy to create, loaded with current SOPs and safety protocols. Workers and teams can follow step-by-step instructions, adjusting them on the fly as conditions change. Field inspection platforms enhance training by providing workers with references like manuals and visuals at the point of use. Safety checklists can include mandatory fields that can’t be skipped and hide irrelevant fields for inspectors.

By promoting self-regulation and self-inspection through digital tools, you eliminate the guesswork that leads to complacency and mistakes. And with no frustrating distractions like lost paper checklists or unclear written or verbal direction, workers can concentrate their effort on working to quality and staying safe.

Three construction workers performing safety inspection on site showing how tech leads to safer construction sites

Issues reporting

As work progresses, teams may uncover unforeseen safety issues that demand swift identification and rectification to prevent potential hazards.

Everyone on the job site, including task-performing workers, quality control inspectors, and even inexperienced employees, needs suitable tools. These tools empower them to efficiently collect and report safety hazards and incidents they discover, expediting remediation.

That’s why leading inspection platforms like Fulcrum leverage the full power of digitization by incorporating QR code technology. Workers have instant online issue reporting via convenient QR codes for safety concerns and violations. These reports seamlessly reach safety managers who guide remediation. Digital inspections empower those who “see it” most often to follow the “see it, report it” maxim with better clarity.

Visibility and supervision

Digital field inspection platforms lets everyone, from field teams to those back at the office, connect to the same underlying data with their devices, with near-real time updates. Completed checklists instantly show offsite supervisors the progress of tasks or inspections. On-site workers can also instantly upload safety hazard details in the form of images, audio, or video, with all records geotagged for enriched location awareness. With this wealth of data, managers achieve a high-level visibility that leads to better supervision and more efficient workflows.

As work progresses, teams can quickly send updated SOPs or safety protocols to all team members to adjust their work. These updates detail exactly what task steps and safety measures team members should take to stay safe. Digital platforms make it easy for anyone to create or edit a checklist on the spot to address emerging safety issues.

This seamless communication between onsite workers and remote supervisors enables teams to react and adapt swiftly to specific ground conditions. It also provides unparalleled visibility into current work processes and opportunities for improvement.

Let voices ring

A robust and comprehensive safety program isn’t just about imposing rules from the top down. The best safety programs nurture a culture of best safety practices. This culture extends horizontally and vertically. It empowers workers to use communication tools and speak up without fear of retribution. When everyone has a stake in and a voice in workplace safety, workplaces become more safe.

Digital field inspection platforms like Fulcrum remove traditional information barriers in construction. Workers actively participate in their safety, possessing up-to-date knowledge of job-specific safety issues. Digital inspections amplify their voices, enabling better training for diligence and effectiveness.

Interested in upping your construction company’s safety efforts, reducing accidents, and even lowering your EMR? Fulcrum can help with all this and more!  Sign up for a free 30-day trial to give Fulcrum a test drive.