Construction has always been a dangerous business. According to OSHA, one of every five worker deaths in 2014 was in construction, and the majority were caused by falls, electrocutions and falling objects. What’s more, OSHA has reported that one in 10 construction workers are injured every year, and that over the course of a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 1 in 200 chance of dying on the job.
While hazards persist, however, the industry is becoming far safer than it has been in decades. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that on-the-job mortalities dropped from 1,016 in 2008 to 802 in 2010, and again to 781 in 2011. Injuries are also on the decline, dropping from 4.7 injuries per 100 workers in 2008 to 3.8 per 100 in 2011.
Safety software has played a major role in these improvements. From communication to documentation and training, the right software tools can facilitate all of the important processes of a well-thought-out safety program. The following are a few of the most important benefits of safety software to construction companies and related firms.
Digital incident reporting tools make it easier for firms of all sizes to record and document their workers’ accidents and illnesses in compliance with OSHA regulations. Just as important, fast and easy documentation makes for efficient trend analysis and investigation. Instead of poring over reams of paper-based records, safety personnel can search for specific incidents and aggregate the data from different job sites, work crews and time periods. These capabilities allow companies to pinpoint their most hazardous areas and create targeted plans for improving worker safety.
A lack of communication has historically been one of the leading causes of construction worker injuries and deaths. Foremen and other higher-ups may understand the hazards their employees face, but if they don’t communicate those risks, their workers can’t avoid them. Fortunately, available tools can make it easier to relay risks, procedural changes, equipment requirements and other important information throughout the chain of command.
Similarly, lockout-tagout software automates the communication and documentation of LOTO procedures. With a digital process in place, workers won’t need to worry whether the tags they encounter are old or new. They can use the software to look up exactly when a piece of equipment was locked out—and which employee locked it.
Clear Policies and Procedures
Even the most thorough safety initiative won’t have an impact if it isn’t communicated across the company. Policy and procedure management tools provide a central, easily accessible hub for all of an organization’s important updates. While it is still important to communicate changes in meetings and on physical bulletin boards, the digital environment makes it even more likely that everyone will be brought up to speed.
Regular Training and Recertification
Regular safety training is one of the best ways to reduce accidents and illnesses. Training management, however, can become cumbersome in an organization with tens or hundreds of workers, all of whom have different educational backgrounds, work experience and prior training. A digital safety training management tool helps safety personnel see which employees need training or recertification, particularly following preventable accidents.
Efficient Job Safety Analyses
Finally, construction safety software streamlines the dreaded but critical process of job safety analysis. Given the time and resources JSAs require, many companies put them on the back burner, only updating them once every few years. Digitizing the process allows safety managers to carry out their JSAs quickly, efficiently and on a regular schedule. Ultimately, more frequent JSAs lead to greater insights into the hazards workers face during different tasks—and better policies and procedures to protect them.
A comprehensive safety suite is the most efficient tool for construction companies focused on improving their workers’ safety and boosting their bottom lines. To learn how you can realize all of these benefits and more with a single software package, contact us today.