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Construction is considered an essential service, which is why many projects have continued to hum along even as large portions of the economy have shut down. And while some projects may slow or experience delays from budgetary constraints, experts forecast that the construction industry could soon be busier than ever. Still, amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19 is a silver lining: construction companies now have the opportunity to examine safety processes and update their technology and operations in ways that will positively affect their businesses for years to come.

The 2020 FMI Industry Report shows 66% of firms believe that maintaining a safe worksite is the number one concern for their future success. Now, since the advent of COVID-19, safety managers must do everything they can to protect their workforces, which is where technology comes in. 

In a time when safety and efficiency are top of mind, technology solutions that collect and report live field data can protect employees and streamline business operations both now and after COVID-19. Here are four ways to start leveraging live field data:

Prompt safety forms on clock-in or -out from mobile devices

With new COVID-19 guidelines for the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), contractors are now able to administer COVID-19 tests to all employees. Since then, mandatory pre-shift health and wellness screenings have been implemented across the industry to keep sick employees from entering and contaminating jobsites. Resource management apps can now provide businesses with live field data for these safety screenings and tests. As employees enter the jobsite, they clock-in on their mobile app as usual and can now be required to answer a custom health screening questionnaire. With integrated workflows in a resource management platform that enables clock-in actions to trigger crucial health screening forms, contractors can achieve 100% compliance with health screening submissions. The added benefit is that it adds just a few extra seconds to the clock-in process and the mobile forms can also be automatically emailed to anyone that should have access to the form immediately. 

Live field data allows contractors to assess the collected information as it comes in and positions them to immediately respond to any screenings or test results revealing a positive case or symptoms of COVID-19, speeding up the time in which infected individuals can be identified and sent home. GPS tracking of employees in a resource management solution also assists in identifying anyone that could be at risk of exposure. 

Begin remote safety training with videos on mobile forms

Cloud-based live field data allows companies to train their employees on new COVID-19 safety procedures by quickly deploying toolbox talks and other safety training information without requiring safety managers to be physically onsite. Additionally, safety managers and supervisors can receive the required documentation with time-stamped employee signatures completed right from the employee’s own mobile device. 

Live data will provide agile solutions to quickly deploy new videos. With video links embedded in a form, as well as part of the workflow prompted by the clock-in actions, management can track who has watched the video by requiring signatures with time and date stamps from workers, which can help maintain OSHA compliance. This can all be done within moments of sharing the new video. Increasing the dissemination of proper safety information and toolbox talks in the workforce will increase worker safety and reduce company risks. 

Improve employee safety with live field data for equipment tracking

With COVID-19 risks at the forefront of everyone’s mind, contractors are increasing their use of safety checklists on mobile forms to make sure employees are properly disinfecting equipment and taking photos of the current state of the equipment. Using a resource management app, employees can be presented with the equipment safety checklist right after they clock-in. As soon as the equipment safety checklist is completed, it can automatically be emailed to the equipment manager, and damaged equipment can be swapped out to protect employees.
There are several other ways live field data for equipment tracking can also impact jobsite safety. Without an accurate inventory of equipment, employees could be using the wrong equipment for the task at hand. This can lead to accidents and injuries. With live field data, employees have global visibility of all company equipment and the location of each asset to make sure they can find the right piece of equipment to get the task done safely.

In the field, contractors run the risk of overusing more readily available equipment, even when improper, which drastically increases the risk of dangerous equipment failure. Effective maintenance schedules avoid downtime and can help eliminate the temptation to push equipment beyond suggested limits, which avoids potential injuries. When asset usage is tracked in the same app as the maintenance forms, employees can quickly see if a piece of equipment is approaching its next scheduled maintenance. If maintenance is overdue another piece of equipment can be selected to avoid unnecessary risks. 
Allowing management to proactively mitigate equipment safety risks and handle any injuries in a timely manner protects contractors from workman’s compensation claims.  When employees are able to report unsafe practices or conditions, it keeps the leadership in compliance with OSHA reporting timelines.

Eliminate crossover meetings between jobsites and office employees

COVID-19 presents a unique situation where limiting unnecessary personal interactions between office staff and the jobsite has become as important as ever. All of the data that is being collected is automatically shared in real time from the jobsite and placed into the hands of those relying on regular and timely updates. Payroll personnel no longer need to visit jobsites to collect time sheets. Supervisors can track and manage multiple sites at the same time without physical paperwork or needing to be onsite, and management gets up-to-date progress reporting wherever they are. Also, customers or owners may never need to visit the construction site since walkthroughs are completed virtually, resulting in video footage or photo documentation. 

After all is said and done, COVID-19 will have changed safety expectations for the construction industry into perpetuity. Cloud-based live field data has been proven to be an effective new safety measure, giving instant access to digitized forms and data to managers in real time from the jobsite. Fortunately, if the right lessons are learned, contractors will actually be able to increase productivity while navigating this crisis and increasing the overall safety of all workers in a post-quarantine world at the same time! 


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