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Target your construction safety training with data-driven insight

December 8, 2021

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.

This inconsistency in training provision points to a broader issue within the industry. The effective delivery of safety training is crucial for demonstrating compliance, winning contracts, reducing rework, and ensuring cost-effectiveness. Moreover, it is vital for improving efficiency and, most importantly, safeguarding employees. The industry’s lack of standardized training practices is a significant obstacle to achieving these goals.

This oversight raises some important questions, chief among them being how can construction contractors best identify the gaps in worker safety knowledge so they know what specific training to provide, and how frequently?

The answer is literally right before your eyes.

Harnessing the power of consistent and reliable safety inspection data in combination with the information you are already collecting across other essential elements of your safety programs enables insight on how those program elements are actually performing and where there are safety training gaps.

Data and the essential elements of safety programs

The Dodge Report lists the top essential elements of what their readers consider to be a “world-class safety program” — non-negotiable factors that every company, regardless of size, needs to have in place if it wants to excel at safety training and reap its benefits. These elements include:

  • Regular meetings on safety with jobsite workers and supervisors
  • Frontline supervisors who practice safety leadership skills
  • Jobsite worker involvement
  • Ongoing access to safety training for all supervisors and frontline workers
  • Workers empowered to report hazards and near-miss incidents with no fear of retaliation
  • Hazard assessments and safety plans at each new jobsite

In all likelihood, the vast majority of construction companies, regardless of size, are already collecting at least some data on most of these elements. Opportunities are often missed to more effectively use this information to connect and correlate with data from safety inspections to provide targeted insights about training requirements and frequency.

A construction worker doing construction safety training using a tablet

Using safety inspection data smarter

The continuous interaction between two safety activities enhances each one’s effectiveness. For instance, insights from construction safety inspections influence how assessments are conducted. These assessments then guide and refine the safety inspection processes.

By comparing discussion topics at toolbox talks with hazard and incident reports, we identify training effectiveness and areas needing improvement. Site visits provide specific data for comparison across locations, clients, or other factors. Remediation efforts offer insights into return on investment, and incident reporting helps correlate worker experience with reskilling needs.

When safety managers consistently and reliably collect data, they can link training frequency to accidents or incidents. This allows for the introduction of measures to prevent future occurrences. Safety inspection data highlights new challenges, enabling targeted training resource allocation. Achieving data-driven safety training’s ultimate goal relies on this approach.

Despite its benefits, the adoption of data-driven safety is slow. The Dodge Report indicates that only 19% of contractors see utilizing safety data more effectively as a key improvement method for safety programs..

How Fulcrum adds value

To shine more light on the advantages of data-driven safety, Dodge Report invited Fulcrum VP Jake Freivald to contribute his thoughts.  For data to be useful in driving safety and training initiatives, Freivald says, it must be structured according to these three key criteria:

Data must be digitized

Compared to paper and spreadsheets, digital information is more amenable to advanced analytics, incorporates multimedia such as video and audio, is less subject to input error and loss, and offers a singular source of information that everyone is always working from. Digitizing the data collection process lets you use your own data in new ways.

Data must be pervasive

Regardless of device or operating system, any employee doing a task on a job site should be able to access, input, and share information in a variety of formats. “This isn’t just for people with the word ‘safety’ in their job titles,” Freivald says. “You must create a culture of safety.”

‍Data must be reliable

Data is only as dependable as its methods and execution for collection are consistent. For data to be taken seriously and used effectively, rigorous measures need to be in place that guarantee reliability, regardless of who is collecting when or where.

Cloud-connected, Fulcrum’s field inspection management platform addresses these three criteria head-on by modernizing mobile construction safety inspections. By digitizing safety inspection data and ensuring its ubiquity and reliability, the platform facilitates the correlation and connection of information. It does so both within individual data points and across various elements of the program. This approach unlocks the potential of the data already collected. It generates the insights and metrics necessary to identify, organize, and evaluate your safety training requirements.

Download our datasheet on Modernizing mobile construction inspections for a quick preview of Fulcrum’s platform.

Or for an in-depth look at how leading industrial contracting services provider, FM, harnessed the power of data to drive their safety programs with Fulcrum, visit this Occupational Health and Safety Magazine sponsored webinar.  ‍


Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 from the Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training and Newmetrix.‍