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Among the top and most costly factors ballooning the costs of construction projects and pushing businesses into the red are failures in safety stemming from leadership, labor, compliance and equipment issues. Keeping construction workers safe comes at a price, and businesses cannot afford to spare it. 

The National Safety Council’s 2020 Safety Technology in the Workplace Survey revealed 41% of the workers surveyed were exposed to hazards during construction and installation jobs, with some 24% reporting construction and installation has caused or contributed to a serious injury in their workplace.

In 2019, the construction industry actually led all other sectors with the largest number of preventable fatal injuries, according to the NSC. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2019—the latest year this data is available for—about 20% (1,061) of all worker fatalities in the private industry were in construction, accounting for one in five worker deaths across all industry sectors for the year.

That year, the cost per medically consulted injury was $42,000, including wage losses and medical, administrative and employer expenses, according to the NSC. The cost per death was more than $1.2 million, amounting to over $1.2 billion in costs for construction companies that year.

By investing upfront to mitigate hazards and keep workers safe, companies can actually reduce their overall safety costs. One area to invest in: Technology solutions such as a mobile workforce platform that provide live field data. Live field data gives companies the ability to see and understand their safety management in real time while exposing historically hidden losses that surface without warning. 

Here’s three ways live field data mitigates safety issues, protecting teams and budgets.

Live field reporting

A jobsite or situation can quickly become unsafe through unintentional action or inaction.

Here’s where live field reporting can step in to save the day. Live field reporting is the instant sharing of information from every trackable aspect of a jobsite with all appropriate users (i.e., field workers, project foreman, safety managers, contractors and subcontractors, etc.). Mobile technology enhanced with live field data allows users to digitally report situational changes in the field immediately, like if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse, a piece of equipment malfunctions or staffing is short on-site that day.

Moreover, workers in the field can include pictures and videos of situations along with their written reporting to ensure that all problems are seen and fully understood by supervisors. These reports can be routed to the proper person based on the job the worker is assigned to or who is scheduled that day, ensuring critical data is instantly put in the hands of the right people so that action can be taken swiftly.

Labor safety compliance

 Safety training and compliance play an enormous role in keeping workers and jobsites safe. Using a mobile workforce platform, companies can take advantage of live field data that shows items like worker education and personal protective equipment usage while allowing for immediate updates.

Traditional toolbox talks no longer need to happen in a group setting where workers can’t step away from a task or are absent from the jobsite. Toolbox talk videos can be easily created on any smartphone with a camera and uploaded to a mobile workforce platform. With toolbox talks available in the palm of their hand, employees are guaranteed to receive the critical information they need to stay safe on the job.

Oftentimes personal protective equipment and other safety equipment goes unused because workers simply forget or aren’t accustomed to the need or requirement for such protection. This leads to preventable accidents and injuries. With the use of a mobile workforce platform, companies can program actions that trigger safety equipment reminders for workers when they clock in, shift to a task that requires different or special equipment, or when they are within proximity of a job/task that requires extra protection and awareness.

This same concept applies to toolbox talks and training videos for specific jobs that have special safety requirements. Employees working on specific jobsites or tasks can be prompted to complete additional online safety training pertinent to their location or task at hand. All of these videos can be tracked and reported on to keep safety managers aware of their effectiveness and the knowledge of their workforce.

Equipment, maintenance tracking

Another critical component to keeping jobs safer and protecting the bottom line is tracking equipment usage and maintenance to ensure equipment is where it needs to be and functioning the way it’s intended to. Tracking usage and maintenance records is entirely attainable with live field data.

Some of the greatest expenses construction companies incur are tied to heavy machinery. With already big price tags, it can be tempting for companies to postpone costly maintenance. That maintenance though removes a majority of a machine’s potential for failure, and therefore accidental injuries and delays. By tracking equipment maintenance and investing in performing preventative maintenance, companies can avoid issues from every arising. Using live field data, workers can document equipment usage that’s then shared with company leaders to identify maintenance needs and issues, resulting in effectively being able to manage equipment to decrease and prevent malfunctions, delays and injuries.

Accidents happen, but they aren’t inevitable. Live field data can help construction companies decrease and outright eliminate safety failures to protect a company’s most valuable asset: its workers.

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